Rumour: Apple iPhone 8 will feature wireless charging

Alex Kidman 14 February 2017 NEWS

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Will Apple opt for the Qi standard, or go its own way?

There are always rumours swirling around what will be in the next iPhone model, and they do tend to start early. Sometimes as soon as Apple has finished announcing the current model, in fact. For some time now, rumours have swirled that Apple will incorporate some kind of wireless charging into the next model of iPhone, although nobody it seems can decide if it will be called the iPhone 7s, following established tick-tock naming processes, or the iPhone 8.

Wireless charging is nothing new in the smartphone world, with the two main competing standards being PMA and Qi. Over the weekend, as AppleInsider reports Apple rather quietly joined the Wireless Power Consortium that handles the Qi standard, which does add credence to the idea that the next iPhone will support wireless charging.

Wireless charging uses a contact plate to initiate charging, so you won’t be able to simply wave your phone around in the air and attract electrons. It’s sold as a convenience factor, because rather than having to plug in your phone, you simply place it on a charger. It’s a common feature in a number of smartphones, including bitter Apple rival Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge.

One of the benefits of a standard is that anyone can build to that standard, which means that existing Qi chargers will work with any device that can fit on them. It will be interesting to see if Apple goes down the fully standards-compliant road with any wirelessly-charged iPhone, however.

Apple’s own Apple Watch uses a variant of the Qi standard for its wireless charging, which means that only chargers that licence from Apple can charge an Apple Watch. Given Apple’s general mania for control over everything to do with its iPhone brand, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Apple take the same approach, although it’s possible that membership of the consortium may oblige it to more strictly adhere to the full Qi standard.

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