Apple is reportedly delving into wireless charging systems ahead of this year’s 10th anniversary iPhone, which is largely expected to feature the technology. The California-based company is infamous for its secrecy regarding the projects and technologies it’s working on, but there are reportedly at least five separate groups at Cupertino that are working on wireless charging technology, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.
As further evidence of the company’s wireless charging endeavors, this month, the Apple quietly joined the Wireless Power Consortium, a group of 200 companies and organizations that are fostering the development and standardization of Qi, a wireless charging solution. Other members of the WPC include Samsung, Qualcomm, Dell, LG, HTC, Sony, Huawei and Canon.
But while evidence is mounting that the iPhone 8 will feature some kind of wireless charging system, at this point, we have no idea which direction Apple will take with it. For example, Cupertino has been rumored to be working in conjunction with Energous on its long-range wireless charging system — adding fuel to the rumors that this year’s iPhone will feature a similar tech.
On the other end of the spectrum, the WPC’s Qi system — which is already a standard among many tech companies — relies on inductive charging. Apple has already used a modified version of Qi for the Apple Watch charger. The company’s recent addition to the WPC’s member list might suggest that it’s ready to adopt the standard in its next flagship — rather than use a long-range charging solution.
To further obscure Apple’s true plan, a report from November of last year alleged that Cupertino was testing at least 10 different prototypes of iPhone 8. It’s not too much of a stretch to say that some of those prototypes might have featured different wireless charging solutions. But with the iPhone 8 expected to enter production much sooner than usual this year, Cupertino has most likely decided on a wireless charging system.