Apple fanboys and fangirls are anxiously awaiting the introduction of the new iPhone on Wednesday, but wireless charging is one new feature that’s not likely to see the light of day this time around. Here are four reasons why:
1. The iPhone has an aluminum body.
The current wireless standards do not work through metal. The iPhone 6 has an aluminum body, and changing the entire body material from the iPhone 6 to (what is likely to be called) the iPhone 6S seems unlikely. However, Qualcomm did announce its WiPower wireless charging method this summer, a standard that enables wireless charging through metal. The thought of Qualcomm and Apple teaming up behind closed doors to get WiPower into the iPhone 6S is about as plausible as Superman recruiting Aquaman to help him fight a land-based villain.
2. Apple’s not ready yet.
As late as April of this year, Apple was still looking to hire a “senior wireless charging engineer,” and the job posting required “experience with WPC and PMA wireless standards.” Apple clearly already had the in-house knowledge to wireless charge, as the Apple Watch charges wirelessly. But the watch has much lower power requirements, and interoperability to existing chargers wasn’t even a consideration.
3. Apple doesn’t need to.
Apple’s iPhone is the industry market leader and the consumer darling. Apple doesn’t need to stuff features into its devices to boost sales. The masses are just learning about wireless charging. Apple’s approach appears to be “observe and see how wireless charging and the consumer experience plays out”. In the case of wireless charging, Apple’s fine with being on the cutting edge, not the bleeding edge.
4. History has shown that September iPhones are evolutionary, not revolutionary.
Keeping with Apple’s recent launch history, Sept. 9 will unveil the iPhone 6S. Typically the “S” models are incremental advancements. When Apple does wireless charging, it is going to do it in a way only Apple can. Will it remove wired charging altogether? What will the charging station look like? My guess is beautiful and perhaps “One more thing …” worthy.
But, as Malcom Butler proved to Seattle fans last February, the most likely outcome might not happen.
Jeffrey Kittredge is the founder of WallJax, a wall-mounted wireless charging solution for smartphones. He holds degrees in industrial and electrical engineering.