Apple is already working hard to cut the cord between your iPhone and your computer with iOS 5, but that’s nothing compared to what we might see on when new iPhone models arrive in 2012. Details are scarce, but we believe Apple may be working on wireless or express charging for future iPhone models.
We are still covering what you might see when the iPhone 5 launches this fall, but Apple is already working on the 6th generation iPhone which is expected to launch in 2012.
The Wall Street Journal reports 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.” There are no specific details released, but given Apple’s love for making their own accessories to solve common user complaints such as the Smart Cover, we anticipate this new charging method will focus on faster charging or wireless charging.
Two of the most common iPhone accessories I am asked about are the PowerMat wireless charging solution and the Mophie Juice battery pack which doubles your iPhone battery life. Each of these accessories can add $$50 to $100 to the price of your iPhone, money which could have been spent on Apple branded accessories or iPhone apps. In order to meet the needs of power-hungry iPhone users Apple could be working on their own improvements to iPhone charging.
Wireless iPhone Charging
Now that the wireless charging standard qi has been around long enough to get buy in from players like Energizer and Verizon, Apple could build wireless charging into the iPhone 6 quite easily. This would allow Apple to offer more value with the base iPhone and make money selling Apple branded qi chargers. The move to go wireless charging syncs up well with iOS 5‘s Wi-Fi syncing and backup, AirPlay and iCloud direction.
At the same time, it would allow Apple to maintain a semi friendly relationship with iPhone accessory makers who would be able to use the qi standard to build their own wireless iPhone charging accessories for your home, travel and in the car. Yes, Apple would prefer to make all the money if it could, but Steve Jobs isn’t stupid; he knows that the wide variety of iPhone accessories is one of the iPhone’s advantages over Android phones. This is an advantage that could be expanded with the inclusion of a standard wireless charging solution in the next iPhone.
Faster iPhone Charging
Another path Apple can take is to charge yo your iPhone faster, reducing the need for extra battery cases like the Mophie Juice Packs for many users. I was blown away by how fast the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 charged, going from empty to 80% in under 30 minutes. If Lenovo can charge a laptop battery in that amount of time, I hope Apple can put together a means of fast charging the next generation iPhone.
Imagine plugging your iPhone in for as little as a half hour and walking away with a nearly full charge. This won’t solve all of our problems, but most users can find 30 minutes to charge their iPhone at some point in the day.
I am not holding my breath for a wireless charging iPhone that also charges up to 80% in under 30 minutes, but it is still a long way away. If we are lucky Apple will surprise us with built-in wireless charging on the iPhone 5 and improve from there.