Apple’s new hires point to iPhone wireless charging

By

iPhone wireless charging
Will Apple finally make this a reality?
Photo: Ivo Marić and Tomislav Rastovac

Could the iPhone 7 be Apple’s first with wireless charging? Some reports have claimed the feature is coming, and it looks even more likely now that Apple has added a number of wireless charging experts to its ranks.

Wireless charging seems like a gimmick until you actually use it. You don’t think you need it, then you get used to slapping your phone down on a pad when you go to bed or get to the office and never worrying about cables, and you wonder how you ever lived without it.

Sadly, iPhone owners are yet to experience that — but this could be about to change.

A January report from Bloomberg claimed Apple was working to bring wireless charging to the iPhone, and that it could happen as early as this year. We’ve heard the odd whisper about wireless charging in the iPhone 7 series since then.

But those claims just got a lot more promising. “In the last four months two former uBeam engineers with expertise in wireless charging and ultrasonic technology had been hired by Apple,” reports The VergeAnd there’s more.

In the last two years, Apple has hired more than a dozen people with expertise in wireless charging. This indicates the company is finally getting serious about bringing a feature that’s now widely available on rival Android devices to the iPhone.

But Apple’s implementation may be different. Unlike existing technologies, which require you to place your phone on a special pad, Apple’s could allow you to continue using your device while you move around — so long as you stay don’t stray too far from the charger.

Apple has already filed patents for wireless charging solutions that allow this, and that’s exactly what startup uBeam has been promising — charging within a field, rather than via a pad. That makes Apple’s most recent hires even more interesting.

The only concern right now is that neither uBeam or any of the other companies that promise wireless charging over the air have made their technologies available. There have been plenty of demonstrations, but no public testing — and no saleable products.

Apple may have a lot of work to do before it can change that, then, which means we can’t be certain the iPhone 7 will be first to deliver these capabilities. But we can be fairly certain Apple is at least working on it — and that’s incredibly promising.