Rumors have been floating around for a while that Apple is bringing wireless charging to the iPhone 8, and we just got one of our strongest pieces of evidence yet: Apple has joined the Qi Wireless Power Consortium.
9to5Mac spotted the change and noted that Apple doesn’t appear on the Consortium’s list of members in a cached version of its site from last week.
It’s also worth noting Apple isn’t new to Qi’s technology – the Apple Watch uses a tweaked version that doesn’t work with standard Qi chargers.
Joining the consortium suggests Apple is almost certainly thinking of implementing wireless charging on a future iPhone, and quite likely the incumbent iPhone 8. But while previous rumors suggested Apple was holding out for long-distance wireless charging to become available, it appears that tech won’t be ready in time.
Nonetheless, wireless charging could prove a strong boon to Apple. Android users, myself included, like to point out that they’ve had wireless charging for eons. But Apple’s unmatched ability to shape the market means that it could actually makes wireless charging normal, and that will benefit everyone.
After all, part of the problem with wireless charging on Android phones is how hard it is to find a wireless charger in the wild. Apple entering the game could mean we’ll see coffee shops, cars, and venues provide charging pads for the public. I mean, we’ve already seen wireless chargining IKEA tables.
Of course the question remains whether Apple will actually use the standard Qi protocol or modify it as it did with the Apple Watch. And some would argue that even with common availability, wireless charging isn’t a useful technology when you’re forced to keep your phone planted on a mat.
But we’ll see what Apple has to say about that soon enough. In the meantime, it provided Business Insider with this not-very-helpful statement:
Apple is an active member of many standards development organizations, as both a leader and contributor. Apple is joining the Wireless Power Consortium to be able to participate and contribute ideas to the open, collaborative development of future wireless charging standards. We look forward to working together with the WPC and its members.