Apple is reportedly developing new wireless charging technology with partners in the U.S. and Asia. The iPhone firm aims to deploy the technology on its mobile devices as soon as next year, says a report from Bloomberg citing people familiar with the plans.
Wireless charging to give edge to Apple’s iPhones
Using such a technology, it will be possible to power iPhones and iPads from further away than with the charging mats used with current smartphones, the report says. The iPhone maker intends to overcome technical barriers which include loss of power over distance, and it is still assessing whether to implement the technology or not.
In 2010, Apple made a patent application outlining the concept of putting an iMac personal computer to use as a hub for wirelessly recharging at a distance of about 1 meter. This concept is based on a technique called near-field magnetic resonance. Apple already makes use of a similar technique for charging its Watch within millimeters of the power source.
In another patent, Apple outlined a method for making aluminum phone casings through which radio waves could easily pass. The problem of metal interfering with transmitted signals could be easily minimized with this technique. Any charging technology that still needs to be plugged into a wall socket has not been able to generate much of Apple’s interest for the reason that it would add little convenience.
Apple generates more than 75% of its revenue from iPhones and iPads, and the new technologies will give an edge to its devices, allowing it to charge higher prices for its products in a slowing market.
Rivals also exploring the tech
Several of Apple’s rivals, including Samsung, Sony and Google, have released smartphones that can be charged wirelessly, but they still require proximity to a charging plate. If the distance between a transmitter and receiver increases, then the batteries take longer to recharge as the efficiency of the power transfer decreases.
Semiconductor makers Broadcom and Qualcomm have already developed or are working on developing technology and standards for wireless charging. A chip from Broadcom offers support for the three major wireless charging technical standards, while Qualcomm supports two of those technologies. Last year, Qualcomm said it developed a method with which the problem of metallic interference in charging could be skirted.