Apple’s name now appears in the Wireless Power Consortium’s (WPC) list of members, sustaining rumours that the next iPhone will include wireless charging capabilities.
This is the first time Apple confirmed involvement with any wireless power standard body. The WPC is the group behind Qi, a wireless charging platform based on inductive charging technology. Its board of management includes Qualcomm, Samsung and Verizon.
Last week, a leaked note suggested Apple is working on adding wireless charging to three phones scheduled for release later this year.
The WPC is one of two major industry groups looking to set the standard for wireless charging, with the other being the AirFuel Alliance.
While the WPC remained quiet about Apple coming on board, AirFuel said it is encouraged by the news, adding a recent survey showed “consumers not only want wireless charging, they want it to be second nature, available when and where they need it.”
“Whichever wireless charging technologies Apple ultimately considers incorporating into its next-gen phones, this is great news for consumers and for the industry as a whole. We welcome Apple to the wireless charging table,” it said in a statement.
According to Vicky Yussuff, an analyst at IHS Technology, Apple made the move because it could no longer ignore the success of wireless charging adoption seen by its competitors.
Yussuff said IHS survey data shows over 90 per cent of consumers want wireless charging on their next device and global wireless charging unit shipments are expected to exceed 350 million enabled receivers in 2017.
“To date, this volume has largely been driven through the backing of wireless charging by Samsung,” she said, adding that although shipments of wireless charging devices grew by 40 per cent last year, the absence of the iPhone and the wait for the launch of magnetically resonant devices meant shipments were lower than expected for 2016 overall.