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Wireless charging for the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X will be about as fast as standard wired charging, although Apple is rumored to change that in a future update to its iOS software.
That rumor stems from a recent review of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus by Jim Dalrymple of The Loop, who tested the two devices over the last week. According to Dalrymple, the iPhone 8’s wireless charging provides a slower charge roughly equivalent to the 5-watt brick that Apple packages with its devices.
Without getting into the specifics of the details or where he got the information from, Dalrymple then states that the device’s wireless charging speed will “increase slightly later this year with a software update from Apple.” The Loop presumably got this information first-hand from Apple, as Dalrymple later states that the company told him that there’s little chance of battery damage from continuous wireless charging.
Qi, the standard that the new iPhone’s wireless charging is based on, supports charging speeds up to 15-watts with its 1.2.x specification. It’s currently unknown how much Apple plans to bump the speed, however. Third-party charging pads, such as those from the likes of Belkin and Mophie, already offer speeds up to 7.5 watts. Apple itself even sells and recommends these third-party charging solutions, probably due to the fact that it doesn’t yet offer its own platform.
Interestingly, a rumor from earlier this year suggested that wireless charging itself could have been added in a later update. That’s obviously not the case, but it does suggest that Apple could upgrade wireless charging via software updates. Apple’s new iPhones do support wired fast charging, although only via a separately sold cable and charging brick.
Although this is speculative, faster wireless charging might be rolled out alongside Apple’s own proprietary charging pad, which it unveiled at its fall announcement event. AirPower, which will also be based on Qi, will allow for a range of devices — including Apple Watch Series 3 and the new AirPods charging case — to be charged simultaneously.
There’s no word on when AirPower will become available, or how much it will run consumers at launch. Some sources have indicated that it’s likely to debut in the first quarter of 2018.