Rumored features for the iPhone 6 will remain fuzzy until the next iPhone is released. But WSJ.com already foresees inductive charging on an iPhone 6 in 2012.
While WSJ.com has led the charge in breaking reliable information about the iPhone 5, it would seem that they now have some better insight into one of the big, bold features that awaits the iPhone 6 in 2012. According to a new report on WSJ.com, tech writers Lorraine Luk and Yukari Iwatani Kane claim that inside sources at Apple are close to developing wireless inductive charging for the iPhone 6 that, together with OTA updates and synching, could make that device completely wireless. Luk and Kane report that: “People briefed on Apple’s plans said the company is planning a major iPhone revamp then, with one person saying the company has been experimenting with features such as a new way of charging the phone.”
The obvious conclusion here is that Apple is perfecting wireless “inductive” charging for the iPhone 6, which will allow Apple to unveil an industry-first in 2012 with a completely wireless iPhone 6.
It is important to note, however, that inductive charging is not really a new technology — there are numerous devices of the market today that feature inductive charging, to varying results. And as a rule, the technology still suffers from one major drawback: it rarely offers users a full charge. IGN explains that “Transmitting energy wirelessly, as you can imagine, is not nearly as fast or effective as transferring it through a physical connection, as such, it takes a significantly longer time to fully recharge the battery pack.” Using the example of charging the two AA rechargeable batteries in a Wiimote, they explain that, ” To fully charge an empty battery, a Wiimote has to be placed on the charger for somewhere between six and eight hours; a pretty lengthy bit of time, no doubt.”
If it would take six to eight hours to charge a Wiimote, the high-profile LiON battery used in the iPhone 6 would have to be considerably more efficient.
In addition, there is a new branch of inductive charging, known as Qi, that promises to become the new technological industry standard for wireless inductive charging. According to EW’s Rechargeable Battery Blog: “The basic idea behind qi is that since one inductive charger does the same basic thing as another – transfer power – then they should all be able to use the same source with no brand restrictions. iPhones wouldn’t need iPhone specific charge pads. iPods wouldn’t need iPod specific chargers. Eneloop chargers wouldn’t require Eneloop batteries to work. It makes them all universal.”
It remains to be seen how Qi technology would sit with Apple, who rarely seeks to use or develop technologies that are open source. It would stand to reason that wireless inductive charging technology would come to work with all Apple products, but whether or not it can work long-term against a universal technology like Qi is still a question that cannot be answered.
In any case, it’s exciting to have a new vision of the future for the iPhone 6. Regardless of how it might look and feel, the prospect of an iPhone 6 that requires no wires (and perhaps will feature no ports, holes, or physical buttons?) gives us a vision of a smooth, seamless next-generation device.
By Michael Nace