A new tech partnership hints at long-distance wireless charging being included in a future iPhone, possibly Apple’s iPhone 8.
Energous, a startup rumored to be working with Apple on long-distance wireless charging, has partnered with Dialog Semiconductor — an Apple chip supplier. In November, it was announced that Energous had taken a $10 million investment from the chip manufacturer. As part of the deal, the long-distance wireless charging company is moving its operations to Dialog, and will sell its products under Dialog’s brand, according to a press release.
The new partnership further fueled rumors that Energous’ technology would eventually end up in an upcoming iPhone. In a SEC document, Energous publicly announced that it had a developer agreement with “one of the top five consumer electronics companies.” In a document presented to investors in 2014, the company announced that it had passed Apple compliance testing — a move that some took as conclusive evidence that the company was working with Cupertino to some degree.
Additionally, Energous signed a “collaboration agreement” in January with Foxxconn, another major Apple parts supplier. The agreement sought to evaluate how Energous’ tech could be implemented in future products, AppleInsider reported. Although currently too small of a company to supply Apple, the startup’s partnership with Dialog might open doors — since the latter already reliably produces parts for Apple. Notably, over 70 percent of Dialog’s revenues come from Apple, Fast Company reported.
While numerous rumors suggest Apple is clearly looking into a wireless charging solution, the company might be looking at developing such a technology in-house. In May, Cupertino reportedly hired two “wireless charging experts” from startup uBeam. But the amount of evidence pointing toward Energous’ collaboration with Apple at least hints at the company playing a part in a wireless-charging iPhone.
Energous’ flagship technology, WattUp, is a system that can charge a device from a distance — without a physical connection or charging pad. Energous is rumored to be working on tech that can charge a device from up to 15 feet away. Although the company has yet to release a product onto the market, Energous CEO Steve Rizzone expects a shipping version to be available in early 2017 — just in time for the next generation of iPhone.
What Else Can We Expect from Apple’s iPhone 8?
The iPhone 8 is expected to be completely redesigned with its most prominent feature being a gorgeous edge-to-edge display taking over the front of the device. By removing the bezels from the device, Apple will be able to create the futuristic design that iPhone fans have long been craving.
In the past, increasing the size of the display would mean making the device physically larger to incorporate the bigger screen; however, it’s unlikely Apple will make the physical size of the iPhone 8 larger than the iPhone 7. In order to achieve a larger display without making the actual device larger, Apple will likely remove excess features from the face of the device, i.e. the home button.
Appropriately, under-glass fingerprint scanning technology has already been developed and patented by Apple which would negate the need for a physical or capacitive home button taking up precious space on the front of the device, simply by implementing the Touch ID sensor directly into the screen itself.
Apple’s iPhone 7 has been praised by DisplayMate Technologies for having the “best LCD display” the company has ever tested, and we can only expect even better quality from the upcoming iPhone 8’s OLED display. As a matter of fact, OLED displays can provide more highly saturated colors, deeper blacks, and higher power efficiency compared to their LCD counterparts.
Apple’s iPhone 8 is expected to feature a 5.1- or 5.2-inch display, stepping up the size slightly from an already generous 4.7-inch screen found on the iPhone 7. Removing the home button and implementing a larger edge-to-edge display will allow for a sleeker, more futuristic, and ultimately more exciting next generation smartphone. Other notable improvements rumored to come to the iPhone 8 include a glass back à la the iPhone 4s and iris scanning technology.