Apple’s official charging pad may be a not-too-cheap $79, but if you want to wirelessly charge your smartwatch, Apple’s not leaving you a whole lot of options.
That’s because, despite the wide range of Qi chargers around, Apple has made it so that its watch will only work with a select few which have received the Cupertino stamp of approval.
“The Apple Watch charger that comes with the device is Qi based, but the firm decided not to submit it for interoperability testing,” John Perzow, VP of market development at the Wireless Power Consortium, told The Register. “I think they are using version 1.1.2 of Qi, but the software stack has been altered so that only Apple’s charger works with Watch.”
Apple began selling its $79 charging dock for the Apple Watch this week. It works as both a flat charging puck and in Nightstand mode — giving you the option of either charging your smartwatch in a flat position with the band open, or else on its side.
Other docks that will work with the Apple Watch include those approved as part of the Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod (MFi) licensing program, announced for Apple Watch earlier this year.
There are currently around 150 million pieces of hardware which use the general Qi wireless charging standard, meaning that it should be easy to mix and match your Apple Watch with any of the available charging devices (which includes wireless charging points in cars, hotels, airports etc.)
The fact that Apple has modified its Qi software stack to only work with a small percentage of these is likely to be an irritation to some users — but, then again, isn’t this one of the reasons that Apple is making the kind of cash that it is?
Sounds like a good business strategy to me…