The iPhone 8 is long rumored to feature long-distance wireless charging. A new report coming out of Asia has bolstered those rumors. Supply chain sources told Chinese-language Commercial Times (via Digitimes) that Taiwan-based Lite-On Semiconductor has entered Apple’s supply chain. According to the report, Lite-On Semi will supply 50% of the GPP bridge rectifiers that will be used in the wireless charging modules of the iPhone 8.
Lite-On shares surge 10%
MacRumors says that the GPP bridge rectifiers are required to “maintain efficiency in wireless power transmission and reduce thermal issues.” Apple had reportedly been holding off on wireless charging until it found a method to charge devices over long distances without requiring a charging mat. Many Android vendors already offer wireless charging, but they require the use of a charging mat. It means you can’t charge the device while holding it in your hand.
While Lite-On is responsible for half of the GPP bridge rectifiers, it is unclear which company will be supplying the other half. Though Lite-On refused to comment on the report, its shares on the Taiwan Stock Exchange jumped 10% to NT$28.75 on Thursday. If true, Lite-On will be the second company to be linked with long-distance wireless charging for the iPhone 8.
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Apple expected to use Energous’ wireless charging tech
Apple is reportedly working with Energous, which has demonstrated long-distance wireless charging with its WattUp technology. The WattUp transmitter can charge a compatible smartphone from a distance of up to 18 feet. Earlier this month, Energous CEO Steve Rizzone indicated that the company’s wireless charging technology would debut with the iPhone 8 later this year.
It is unclear whether Lite-On’s components have anything to do with Energous’ charging modules. Energous plans to put its transmitters in public places such as airports and coffee shops so that users can charge their devices even when they are outside their home. According to a poll on possible iPhone 8 features conducted by 9to5Mac, wireless charging was the most popular feature.
iPhone 8 to have a glass-sandwich design
Apple is widely expected to switch from an aluminum unibody chassis to a glass-sandwich design with the iPhone 8 to enable wireless charging. The device will have an all-glass front and back, supported by a stainless steel frame in the middle. A glass back can transmit wireless charging signals more effectively than a metal back. The upcoming iPhone will have an edge-to-edge OLED display that houses the home button and fingerprint scanner.
Analysts believe that anticipation for the feature-rich iPhone 8 will weaken demand for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in coming quarters. Along with the 5.8-inch iPhone 8, Apple is expected to launch iPhone 7S and 7S Plus that will be iterative upgrades to the current models. Cowen & Company analyst Timothy Arcuri says Apple could name its new flagship smartphone iPhone X rather than iPhone 8.