“Apple is an active member of many standards development organizations, as both a leader and a contributor,” Apple told the publication. “Apple is joining the Wireless Power Consortium to be able to participate and contribute ideas to the open, collaborative development of future wireless charging standards. We look forward to working together wit the WPC and its members.”
Qi is based on conventional inductive charging systems — a technology that Apple has already used on the Apple Watch. But while the Apple Watch charger uses a modified version of the Qi standard, Apple’s proprietary system isn’t compatible with other Qi chargers, according to The Register. The company’s recent induction into the WPC could change that in the future.
Apple’s newly discovered membership surface amid numerous rumors circulating that this year’s 10th anniversary iPhone will feature wireless charging — which would be a first for the flagship device. While this new piece of information doesn’t confirm that the iPhone 8 will come equipped with Qi-based wireless charging, it does speak to Apple’s broader ambitions for the technology.
It’s worth noting that the Qi inductive charging standard is quite different than the long-range wireless charging capabilities that other rumors have suggested Apple is exploring. Still, they’re not mutually exclusive — it’s entirely possible that Cupertino is still moving forward in its partnership with Energous, and simply believes Qi is a more practical solution for an iPhone that is due to be released by the end of the year.
Alternatively, if the company’s official statement is any indication, Apple could use its new sway as a member of the WPC to “contribute ideas” for future wireless charging standards — including a standard that uses long-distance charging methods like the one pioneered by Energous.