Apple is now a member of the Wireless Power Consortium. As spotted by 9to5mac, the website has recently been updated to feature Apple as one of the 213 members. This update fuels recent rumors that Apple is going to add wireless charging in the next iPhone.
While wireless charging is nothing new, Apple has been very cautious about this feature. The Apple Watch already works with a magnetic cable that charges your device wirelessly. But the iPhone has never had such a feature.
When wireless charging first became popular, it was either slow or your phone battery would become hot. If this feature isn’t implemented properly, it could damage batteries over the long haul. In addition to that technical challenge, companies were competing to set the standard. The technology is now ready for prime time, and Apple seems to be ready to move ahead.
Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo from KGI Securities has already said that the next iPhone should feature wireless charging in addition to the good old Lightning port.
In September, Apple could introduce, not one, not two but three different iPhone models. In addition to the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus (or whatever they call them), there should be a higher-end “pro” model.
It’s unclear if all iPhones or just the top model will feature wireless charging. Similarly, nobody knows for sure if Apple is going to put the charger in the box or still ship the devices with a Lightning cable.
There are many, many companies in the Wireless Power Consortium, including Samsung, LG, Huawei, HTC and Qualcomm. So today’s announcement doesn’t mean much about Apple’s plans. And yet, it’s hard to dismiss it when you combine it with the current rumors — it’s a lot of smoke.
Now, if only somebody could tell Apple that the Lightning port is kinda useful. If you blink, Apple could use this opportunity to remove that one last port on the iPhone.
Update: Apple has provided the following statement:
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.
Update #2: And the Wireless Power Consortium has sent me the following statement:
The companies with the largest market share in mobile phones are now members of the WPC and discussing the standardization of wireless charging. As we have seen in the past year, Qi has become the de facto standard for wireless power, and this year we expect to see even more momentum by the entire ecosystem.