According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo from KGI Securities, the 2017 iPhone will add wireless charging for the first time. Instead of plugging in a cable, iPhone 8 owners will be able to charge their batteries using an inductive pad similar to how the Apple Watch charges. Although many Android phones support wireless charging with plastic and metal chassis, the report says Apple’s switch to a glass casing for iPhone 8 will enable wireless charging at fast speeds with minimum disruption from frequency interference.
The report says that Apple may not bundle a wireless charger with every model — it may be limited to the more expensive, higher-capacity SKUs — but expects Apple to adopt wireless charging aggressively through 2018. Plans are up in the air at this point, of course, but buyers of the low-end models may find they have to buy an additional accessory if they want to charge their phone wirelessly.
KGI has previously said Apple intends to release three new iPhone devices in 2017, two models that are more-iterative successors to the existing iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and one major new ‘bezel-less’ design with an OLED display that wraps around the edges and sides of the phone. All three models are expected to feature glass casings which suggests they all will incorporate wireless charging components.
The OLED display would technically be about 5.8-inches in size although the active touchscreen diagonal size would be circa 5.2-inches as some of the screen area is being used up on the sides of the product for aesthetic reasons. This iPhone is also expected to feature a Touch ID Home Button somehow integrated into the display itself, eliminating the bottom bezel ‘chin’. The OLED iPhone 8 continues to be described as ‘bezel-less’ but it is unclear how Apple will deal with the top bezel which currently features a speaker and FaceTime camera.
The KGI report says that Pegatron will be the sole supplier of the wireless charger as Foxconn is tied up managing the production of the ‘revolutionary’ OLED iPhone. It is not clear whether all iPhones will support wireless charging or whether all iPhones will be bundled with wireless chargers to do it. These may be sold as add-on accessories on some models. Wireless charging is certainly something the public have been asking for but it makes up just one element of the radical new OLED iPhone set to debut late in 2017.
Wireless charging is somewhat of a misnomer because the device still has to be close to another unit that is connected by a wire to the wall. Early this year, Bloomberg said Apple was developing long-range wireless charging for future iPhones, which would better fulfil the promise of distance wireless charging, but the KGI report seems to suggest that the new iPhones would only use the typical close-range inductive mat technology. Hopefully, there can be more clarity on the finer details as the months progress: after all, we are still a year away from the official launch of these new phones.