One of the most annoying things about smartphones is that they never last as long as we need them to, which is why so many of us have been forced to ask a bartender if we could “just charge this back there for a few minutes?” With the iPhone at least, that may finally be changing.
As 9to5Mac noticed today, Apple is now listed as a member of the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), an association of companies that has been promoting a wireless-charging standard called “Qi” since 2008.
Many other smartphone manufacturers have already included wireless charging capabilities in their devices, and companies such as Starbucks and IKEA have started incorporating wireless charging stations into their stores and products. But Apple has been a holdout on incorporating the technology into its devices, instead requiring customers to dutifully plug in their iPhones using the notably breakable (and proprietary) Lighting cable.
Apple joining the wireless consortium lends credence to rumors that the next iPhone, likely to be announced this September, will include wireless charging. Apple declined to comment on whether wireless charging would be appearing in any upcoming products, but confirmed to Quartz that it had joined the WPC, adding:
Apple is an active member of many standards development organizations, as both a leader and contributor. Apple is joining the Wireless Power Consortium to be able to participate and contribute ideas to the open, collaborative development of future wireless charging standards. We look forward to working together with the WPC and its members.
Hopefully an Apple wireless-charging rollout will be better executed than the company’s removal of the headphone jack from the iPhone 7, a move that forced customers to use adapters to plug in their headphones through the Lightning port, or to buy a costly pair of wireless headphones, such as Apple’s own $160 AirPods. Hopefully Apple also dodges the pitfalls of its wireless-payments rollout, which requires store owners to buy special terminals that work with Apple’s custom version of the NFC wireless connectivity standard. But closed systems are demanding things: Given Apple’s history, we’ll probably see a wireless-charging iPhone that only works with Apple-sanctioned wireless charging stations. A non-wireless charging dock already costs $40; so maybe stay friendly with your bartender just in case.