The rumour mill is currently rife with speculations on the iPhone 8, from people claiming there are up to 10 prototypes to those that claim it will have a glass case to allow wireless charging.
This point is the most interesting to us – if Apple was to go wireless, they would need to make the technology better than the current Qi charging standards. Why? Qi charging is simply not very exciting. It is wireless, but your product still has to be placed right on top of the receiver in order to charge. Add onto that slow charging speeds, overheating and the possibility of the technology not being compatible with certain cases and it adds up to pretty low efficiency and a huge lack of wow factor.
This is where Energous Corp comes in. Energous have been in the game for a few years now trying to develop wireless charging that charges from a distance – called Wattup®. Wattup® claims to charge from up to 15 feet away using a transmitter, which allows multiple devices to connect simultaneously. If this technology actually works, this is the innovation ticket that Apple has so drastically needed in the last few years to pick up their iPhone sales and amp up their stock price. They’re currently looking into FCC certification, although claims have been positive that this may have already been acquired. Claims also show that other global certifications are now being applied for.
Concept Artwork from Wattup®
The Wattup® technology has been in the pipeline for some time and they are looking to debut their Wattup® line at CES in January. After a few years of hiccups it appears as if the technology is finally ready to roll. In early November, Energous announced a strategic partnership with Dialog Semiconductor – a company that is currently selling power management, AC/DC conversion, solid state lighting (SSL) and Bluetooth low energy technology.
Wattup® utilises small form factor antennas, formed with the existing devices printed circuit board, which means larger and more expensive coils are not needed. This allows their technology to be used on a huge range of battery powered devices – not just phones but wearables, gaming, virtual reality, tablets and more.
What’s interesting about this partnership is twofold. One, is that earlier this year Energous announced that they had an unnamed Tier 1 partnership in the works and that it aims to “release products to consumer through our licensing partnerships in late 2016, early 2017”. The second is that Dialog is a huge supplier to Apple.
Apple is certainly aware that their biggest criticism in the past few years has been lack of innovation. Pair with this a rather good looking case for them to adopt WattUp® and Apple will be onto a winner.
If this technology truly works and if the rumour mill is in fact correct, then we are looking at one of the biggest changes to the consumer electronics industry that we have had in years. While this is clearly a huge benefit, wired charging is likely always going to be a preference as it will always remain much faster to charge via cable, much like a LAN vs Wireless connection to the internet.
We here at MG* are keeping a close eye on technology to ensure we’re constantly up to date with the latest technology, so we can keep our customers at the forefront of innovation.