We’ve been hearing for quite some time that the iPhone 8 will feature wireless charging, and now there’s a shred of evidence that this might be true. A Chinese-language website reported this week that Lite-On Semi has entered Apple’s supply chain to provide components to support fast wireless charging. According to the report, the company has received half the orders for the wireless charging components.

iPhone 8 Wireless Charging Energous
Image Credit: Energous Corporation / YouTube video (screenshot)

So if the iPhone 8 does finally offer wireless charging, how will it work?

Wireless charging uses magnetic induction

Current wireless charging technology uses something called magnetic induction, which basically results in a device charging after being placed on a surface without having to be plugged in. The technical term for the process is inductive charging. Together, the terms “magnetic” and “induction” means that the process transmits energy to the device that’s being charged using magnetism.

The charger is plugged into the wall, drawing power from the electricity. Then the electricity creates a magnetic field inside the charger, which makes a current inside the coil of the charger that’s inside the device. That coil delivers the electric current to the battery, charging it.

The bridge rectifier, which is the component that Lite-On Semi is said to be supplying for the iPhone 8, is a bridge circuit that contains at least four diodes. It conducts AC (alternating current) into DC (direct current). Bridge rectifiers are used in almost all devices’ power supplies, so just because the iPhone 8 will have one doesn’t mean it will definitely support wireless charging. This component does have other applications, but this is the main one.

Will the iPhone 8 take wireless charging further?

There’s been talk of the iPhone 8 offering even better wireless charging support than what is currently available in smartphones. Apple has been granted various patents related to the technology over the years. The company received one in September describing a method using inductive power transmission for wireless charging.

However, there’s also been talk of the iPhone 8 supporting a new improved type of wireless charging, possibly by using an all-glass case for the smartphone. An all-glass case will make charging the iPhone 8 wirelessly easier, thus boosting the performance. This rumor suggested in November that the phone would have a chip on its main board that would connect it to a base station that can charge it from up to 15 feet away. Then Apple could sell these base stations for additional revenue and people could place them around their home or office and always have a full charge on their iPhones.

Whether or not these base stations or this wireless charging method will be ready for this year’s iPhone 8 remains to be seen, of course. It may be a bit early, but it could go a long way toward helping Apple recover its image as an innovator.