Without explicitly saying the next iPhone will have wireless charging, Apple has essentially tipped off the world this week. They’ve joined the Wireless Power Consortium, one of the world’s foremost authorities on wireless power standards. This is the same group whose members include Samsung, Qualcomm, HTC, LG, Nokia, and Verizon – at this point they’re essentially the winners, if this were a competition.
“The world market for wireless charging is expected to exceed 350 million enabled receiver units shipped in 2017. To date, this volume has largely been driven through the backing of wireless charging by Samsung,” said Vicky Yussuff, analyst at IHS Technology. “Although shipments of wireless charging devices grew by 40% in 2016, the continued absence of the iPhone and the continued wait for the launch of magnetically resonant devices meant shipments were lower than expected for 2016 overall.”
Yussuff points to one of the most consistent trends in the smartphone industry since Apple introduced the iPhone in the year 2007. She suggests that “many in the industry have been cautious to move forwards until they knew the direction for any wireless charging on iPhone devices.”
Thus it has been with elements like the removal of the headphone port, mobile wallets (with Apple Pay), voice assistant (Siri), and fingerprint scanners. It’s not that these features didn’t exist on smartphones before Apple included them with the iPhone, but they certainly picked up in popularity substantially once Apple gave the OK with the iPhone.
There’s also the possibility that Apple has joined the Wireless Power Consortium to see the industry’s reaction – and consumer reactions. If the reaction is largely negative, (this is unlikely), there’s still a chance they wont put wireless charging technology in the next iPhone. Meanwhile, one way or the other, we wont be surprised to find a lot more wireless charging pads being released by accessory makers in the near future.
Apple will probably release the iPhone 8 – or more likely the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus – in September of 2017. This follows the release schedule Apple has been on for the past several years, and there’s no significant reason this year to buck the trend. Releasing the iPhone in June to match the exact date of Apple’s 10-year anniversary for the handset is absurd – they’ll have a birthday party, but they won’t reveal a new phone.