Wireless charging has been a common feature in Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy series for a few years. New reports suggest that the iPhone 8 also will incorporate wireless charging technology. “The assembly process for the previous generations of smartphones have not changed much,” said Robert Hwang, CEO of the India-based Apple supplier Wistron, “though new features like waterproof and wireless charging now require some different testing, and the waterproofing will alter the assembly process a bit.” It appears that Wistron is trying to figure out how to add wireless charging to its assembly process.
Maybe Apple will not bundle a wireless charger with every model or perhaps it will limit it to the higher-capacity SKUs. It has been suggested that Apple will use a wireless long-range charging technology without the need for a charging pad.
It remains unclear which wireless charging standard Apple will support. Earlier this year, Apple joined the Wireless Power Consortium, which backs the Qi standard. But that doesn’t mean it will support only Qi. If it does, however, this will definitely help to solidify the Qi standard. One hope is that Apple offers a dual-mode charging option. Even though it could be more expensive to produce a phone that supports both standards, such flexibility would certainly benefit consumers.
Also, there are rumors that the back of the iPhone 8 will be made out of glass instead of aluminum to ensure that the wireless charging technology works efficiently and quickly (see photo). A recent Bloomberg Technology article revealed that the next iPhone will also have an OLED screen; it will be interesting to see how Apple will solve the challenge of integrating the iPhone’s fingerprint scanner with this new feature.
Among the companies that stand to benefit from the iPhone’s potential shift to wireless charging are chipmakers like Broadcom and Integrated Device Technology. They also can gain more traction by identifying new opportunities to grow their businesses. According to a report from JP Morgan via CNBC, Broadcom’s wireless charging chip will be part of the next iPhone build. JPMorgan said Broadcom’s “wireless charging win could add $500 to $600M of annualized revenues to Broadcom’s wireless business.”
If the latest rumors are true, the demand for wireless charger technology will create significant growth for the wireless charging market. It also will give the industry the push to aggressively invest in the development of the technology while pressuring it to agree on one universal standard.