Apple announced wireless charging for the iPhone 8, the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X today, but it wouldn’t be an Apple product without an expensive new accessory. Unfortunately, we don’t know how expensive the AirPower charging mat will be, but it’s coming next year.
Wireless charging has struggled to become a standard feature in all devices, at least in part because of industry fights over whether to use the PMA or Qi standard. It was all but certain that Apple would be adopting the Qi standard after it joined the Wireless Power Consortium that advocates for it. Because major phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Note8 support both standards, Qi should be the clear leader once Apple throws its 16.9 per cent market share into the game. But from what Apple said at its big event today, it wants to reshape what Qi actually is.
We were given very few details about AirPower outside of the fact that it can charge one of the new iPhones, an Apple Watch and AirPods all at the same time. All three devices are also connected while charging. And because this is wireless, the lightning port will be freed up for wired headphones as the iPhone and AirPods charge up.
As for the price, we don’t know what it will cost, but for some perspective you can get a well-reviewed Qi charging mat for one phone from Choetech on Amazon for $US16 ($20). It seems likely that Apple use the logic that AirPower charges three devices and price accordingly.
For now, all Apple is saying is that it’s working with the Wireless Power Consortium to integrate its technology into the overall Qi standard and they plan to launch AirPower some time next year.