Apple has official become a fully-fledged member of the Wireless Power Consortium, adding weight to the rumours that the iPhone 8 will itself support wireless charging.
Apple told Business Insider the following:
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.
According research group IHS Technology, this is the first time that the iPhone maker has joined up with an official standard body dedicated to wireless power, and could lead to an increase of wireless charging accessories in anticipation of the new phone.
Many predict Apple will add wireless charging to its upcoming 10th anniversary smartphone; however, the technology Apple will choose to implement is unclear. Earlier reports indicated that it could be long range wireless charging – perhaps using technology from Energous – but more recent reports have suggested that the company is going with induction technology.
However, while speculation had suggested that Apple was working on “contact-free” wireless charging that would allow an iPhone to be charged from a distance, the consortium promotes the use of a single standard for wireless charging dubbed ‘Qi’.
Apple already uses Qi charging for the Apple Watch but uses a tweaked version of the standard that means you can’t use other Qi chargers, because it’s Apple. This suggests that, if the iPhone 8 does come with wireless charging built-in, you’ll likely have to use a specific charger, and rumours claim this won’t be included in the box.
Qi supports both inductive charging and resonant charging; however, the resonant charging is currently limited to just 45mm between the transmitter and receiver. Apple’s Qi membership doesn’t necessarily mean that the company has selected its technology for the iPhone 8, but it certainly does point in that direction.