The fall smartphone wars are just starting to heat up. The Galaxy Note 8 is going to be revealed to the world later this week. The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 are expected sometime this fall. And, of course, the much-anticipated iPhone 8 will be making an appearance as well. There have been plenty of rumors and leaks about the iPhone 8 this summer including leaks directly from Apple.
Wireless charging and the potential for an iPhone 8 wireless charger of some sort is one of the rumors that has been persistent but somewhat lost within the hype of rumors about OLED displays, face unlocking, and overall design choices. John Gruber revealed on Twitter that the iPhone 8 will, in fact, feature wireless charging. In addition, he noted that there will be an iPhone 8 wireless charger sold separately and available a little bit after the original launch. He mentions iOS 11.1 as when the feature might be enabled.
This Tweet from John Gruber is consistent with some of the other leaks we have heard throughout the summer regarding the iPhone 8 wireless charging feature. There has been some speculation that the iPhone 8 wireless charger production is lagging behind the handset and the wireless charging feature may not actually be enabled at launch. Rather, Apple would do what they did with Portrait Mode in the iPhone 7 Plus and enable the feature in a future iOS update. This would allow the iPhone 8 wireless charger production to catch up and hopefully be able to supply retail locations in time for the final weeks of holiday shopping.
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It’s widely expected that Apple will be using the Qi wireless charging standard in the iPhone 8. This means that any wireless charging pad should work with the iPhone 8. However, Apple wants to sell their own branded wireless chargers rather than have customers go out and buy much cheaper solutions. By not enabling wireless charging until their charging pads are available, Apple reduces the chances that all iPhone 8 buyers will go out and get a third-party charger. Of course, this likely won’t be such positive news for those who actually go out and buy the iPhone 8. If a feature is build into the hardware then many people might feel that it should be available on launch rather than enabled when Apple is best poised to rake in some extra cash with their own accessory solution.
In addition to the Tweet from John Gruber, there have been some leaked images of what is rumored to be the iPhone 8 wireless charger. You can check out the leaked images below:
Obviously Apple will put their own design touch on these charging pads and make them look like a true Apple product that you will be proud to put on your nightstand. It’s somewhat interesting to see that the wireless charging pads are in production but some analysts feels they may not be ready for the iPhone 8 launch. This is especially true when you consider that Apple is expecting to only have 2 to 4 million iPhone 8 units available at launch. Plus, not all of those buyers will end up wanting an Apple wireless charger. Of course, there is the possibility that the iPhone 7S and/or the iPhone 7S Plus could also launch with wireless charging capability. That would mean that Apple would need many, many more wireless chargers available to satisfy demand and perhaps explain why production of the wireless chargers won’t be ready for this fall’s launch.
Probably the most exciting thing about wireless charging coming to the iPhone is the fact that this could mark a major turning point for the technology. A lot of flagship smartphones have had wireless charging for several years. However, no company has the ability to drive trends like Apple. If their upcoming smartphones have wireless charging built in that uses the Qi standard then we could see the rapid growth of public wireless charging stations. Tables at coffee shops will have wireless charging built in. Airport armrests could have wireless charging. The possibilities are endless and Apple could be the company that finally makes businesses and public locations acknowledge wireless charging and make accommodations for owners of supported devices.
If the iPhone 8 wireless charger is, in fact, delayed then it will be interesting to see how Apple chooses to handle the announcement of the feature. Will they even mention it at their reveal event? They definitely don’t want to drive their customers to go out and buy third party chargers which will almost assuredly be cheaper than the Apple option. However, pretending the feature doesn’t exist only to enable it in a future iOS update is also a little bit disingenuous. I guess all we can do is wait if we want a full answer from Apple. Wireless charging may not be anything new to the smartphone world but now that the iPhone 8 will feature wireless charging, it’s exciting what the future holds for the technology. Does wireless charging influence your decision to buy a device or is it just a nice feature to have but not a dealbreaker? Let us know in the comments!
Image source: Weibo