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Which Way Will Apple Go With Wireless Charging?

Apple might as early as 2017 implement wireless-charging technology that charges iPhones and iPads within inches or feet of a wireless charging station, eliminating the need to place a device on a charging mat, Bloomberg reported.

In the meantime, however, so-called “loosely coupled” wireless charging solutions will be available from other companies this year to enable charging over distances of several centimeters at any angle, including through a desktop or a charging bowl, IHS said. Many will use the AirFuel Alliance’s Rezence standard.

Wireless solutions using so-called “uncoupled technology,” able to send low levels of power (usually less than a watt) across a room, are “likely to take longer to reach the mass market,” said IHS research manager David Green.

Companies such as Ossia, Energous and uBeam demonstrated uncoupled technology at CES, and Green expects at least one OEM partnership between a handset supplier and an uncoupled-technology company to be announced this year. “But commercial availability by September 2017 would definitely be the earliest expected commercial launch,” he said.

“It remains to be seen which option Apple could be looking at for the iPhone, regardless of whether they will go for industry-standard certified or a proprietary solution,” he noted.

Nonetheless, IHS expects the iPhone 7, expected to launch in September, will include some form of coupled wireless charging, given the launch last year of proprietary inductive-charging docking solutions for the Apple Watch.

For its part, Blomberg reported that Apple is still trying to overcome technical barriers to implement its solutions, particularly the loss of power over distance.

If successful, the technology would give Apple an edge in the premium-phone market, Bloomberg said.

Companies such as Samsung, Sony and Google already offer phones with wireless charging technology that requires placement on a charging plate.