This year’s iPhone lineup is largely expected to feature wireless charging, a first for Apple’s flagship device. But the accessory that would allow the feature to work might not ship alongside the new handsets, a new rumor suggests.
Last Friday, Apple journalist John Gruber of Daring Fireball tweeted that he has heard rumors that standalone inductive charging might be sold as a separate accessory, rather than shipping with the iPhones themselves. More than that, Gruber said that the accessory “might be late,” and could be released later in the year alongside iOS 11.1 — similar to the rollout of Portrait Mode for the iPhone 7 Plus. Though Gruber didn’t elaborate on the accessory itself, it’s likely to be an inductive charging pad or another system similar to the Apple Watch charger.
Wireless charging has long been rumored to be an important feature of this year’s flagship iPhone 8 (aka iPhone X). While early reports suggested that Apple would adopt a system that could allow for long-range wireless charging, such a method is likely too new to be included in a mass-market device this year. More recent reports suggest that the iPhone 8 — and the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus — will rely on an inductive charging method instead. In order to facilitate inductive wireless charging, all three 2017 iPhones are rumored to adopt glass sandwich construction.
On a similar note, Apple recently joined the Wireless Power Consortium, a move that seemingly corroborates rumors of inductive wireless charging as a feature on this year’s iPhone lineup. The WPC’s inductive charging system is called Qi, and it’s been included in a wide variety of Android devices and third-party accessories. If Apple does adopt the universal standard, it could allow for the iPhone to charge via a slew of third-party accessories — conveniently, even those installed in public places like coffee shops and airports.
Of course, while we can safely assume that wireless charging will be a feature on this year’s iPhones, we’re still not sure what form or standard it will take. Gruber offered little detail about the accessory itself.