Wireless Charging Down To Two Alliances, Apple Holds The Key
The wireless charging battle is heading towards a common standard, following the merger of two of the three consortiums offering wire free charging technology. A4WP and PMA announced a merger yesterday which leaves them competing with the WPC and its Qi charging technology.
With Qi providing the technology behind just about every phone with wireless charging it seems the new alliance will have its work cut out to win the market over, but maybe it doesn't have to.
Apple has not yet offered an iPhone with wireless charging embedded. Whether that's because the technology requires some compromises in battery performance and device design isn't known. However the truth is that whichever alliance manages to secure the sale of their technology to Apple becomes the de facto standard and kills the other.
Whilst Samsung has included both PMA and Qi charging in the Galaxy S6 its unlikely to be a widely adopted solution to the problem. Samsung's decision was in part driven by their membership of the PMA but their support of Qi proves the strength of the latter's adoption in the market. Unless that adoption of both standards comes in at a cost of zero to OEMs they won't play ball.
The Apple Watch may well give us a hint of the way that Apple is leaning though. It includes the Qi standard for its wireless charger. Whether that means that Apple will follow this path for the iPhone remains to be seen.
When Apple does decide to pick sides in this battle which should see a huge increase in the number of wireless charging points, from restaurant tables to car dashboards and even in furniture, as Ikea has started doing with some of its flat back offerings.
Whilst it would be nice to hear something at WWDC, or even at the iPhone 6S launch in the Autumn, my gut feeling is that Apple is still not ready to embed wireless into its biggest earning device, which means we'll be waiting a while longer for the wireless revolution to happen.