When a major competitor releases a hero product to the market that they intend to keep around for some time to come, you as a tech company have an opportunity - for Google, that opportunity exists in the absence of wireless battery charging in the iPhone 5. An image has been making the rounds today that very much appears to be approximately half of a Nexus Q - but is being called a wireless charging unit for the Nexus 4. The Nexus 4 is almost certainly going to be revealed on Monday by Google at their big Android event [we'll be there!] as the same unit that's been shown in a rather giant amount of leaked images over the past few weeks - with wireless charging via this pad, has Google suddenly one-upped Apple, not to mention Nokia?
It's not as if wireless charging of smartphone batteries is a new concept - they've even had cases for some time now that fit around the iPhone and allow you to charge the unit with a special pad. But with the introduction of high-level wireless charging - that is, doing it with a hero phone - Nokia may have broken the floodgates. Just a few weeks ago it was that Nokia's Lumia Windows Phone 8 devices were shown to be working with wireless charging pads right out of the box - or with a special back panel replacement.
Now this one image (at the head of this post) is making us believe that Google will be going the same route with the Nexus 4 - and perhaps the tablet Nexus they're setting up to show as well. With this tablet, the Nexus 10, and the Nexus 4 ready for wireless charging action, will Apple be forced to act? It certainly wouldn't be something they'd deliver soon, if anytime in the near future.
With not only the iPhone 5 but the iPad mini and 4th generation iPad just introduced in the span of the last few weeks, Apple is in a place where they're not going to be bringing on any more mobile hardware for months and months. Apple is not in a place where they can be playing catch-up, nor are they going to be able to iPhone as a ubiquitous machine set aside from all other smartphones forever. It may eventually be that the iPhone becomes a works-with-all device, ready as much or more than Android's massive collection of feature-packed device universe is to take on the whole accessory market.
An iPhone with the ability to work with a wireless charging pad? Not any time soon.
A fundamental shift in the way Apple positions itself with the iPhone? It'll have to happen inside the next few years, or you may see a tipping point as major competitors - backed by Google - ramp up their own efforts to become that one "must have" brand.