Apple Inc. (AAPL) Tips its Hand on iPhone 8 Wireless Charging

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There are always plenty of rumors flying around about Apple Inc.'s (NASDAQ: AAPL ) coming iPhone releases. Usually, these are based on information leaked from the AAPL supply chain, but on a very few occasions, Apple itself inadvertently tips its hand.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) Tips its Hand on iPhone 8 Wireless Charging

Source: Wireless Power Consortium

That appears to be the case with the iPhone 8. For several months, the 10th anniversary release has been rumored to feature wireless charging. Thanks to an AAPL move, that now seems like a lock.

AAPL Joins the Wireless Power Consortium

Business Insiderbroke the news that Apple has joined the Wireless Power Consortium (or WPC). WPC is an industry association that oversees Qi, the most widely used wireless charging technology. That puts AAPL in a group with over 220 other companies that are members, including smartphone rival Samsung Electronic (OTCMKTS: SSNLF ), whose Galaxy S7 supports Qi wireless charging.

Apple does already use Qi wireless charging for the Apple Watch, but the company tweaked its implementation so it's not compatible with standard Qi chargers. And it never bothered to join WPC - until now. That move is a very strong indicator that AAPL is planning to incorporate Qi wireless charging on a larger scale, and that points to the iPhone 8.

Apple confirmed it had joined WPC (although the confirmation isn't really necessary given that it's now listed as a member on the organization's website), but it did so by trying to minimize the implications. A company spokesperson told Business Insider :

"Apple is an active member of many standards development organizations, as both a leader and contributor. Apple is joining the Wireless Power Consortium to be able to participate and contribute ideas to the open, collaborative development of future wireless charging standards. We look forward to working together with the WPC and its members."

What WPC Membership Means for iPhone 8 Wireless Charging

Despite AAPL's attempt to position its move as business as usual, joining WPC is a strong indication that rumors about the iPhone 8 offering wireless charging have been on the mark. However, Qi isn't the advanced, over-the-air wireless charging many people had been hoping AAPL would implement.

Instead, Qi - which has been in use since 2011- uses inductive charging. Rather than plugging an iPhone into a charger with a Lightning cable, it would be placed on a charge pad. So there's still a recharger that requires physical contact, and that recharger is still plugged into the wall.

And it seems very plausible that wireless charging would be supported by the iPhone 8, but only offered as an extra at an additional cost. There has already been speculation that AAPL would use optional wireless charging to further drive up the amount consumers spend on a new iPhone purchase. In this case, they would have to add an Apple wireless charger to the tab (something Samsung charges an additional $49.99 for with the Galaxy S7).

Couldn't iPhone 8 buyers simply buy one of the many Qi charge pads already on the market? They would undoubtedly be less expensive than Apple's version.

Well, there's also a good chance that AAPL could pull a move like it did with the Apple Watch, tweaking its Qi implementation slightly so someone buying the new iPhone couldn't simply use a standard third-party Qi charger.

Will Qi Wireless Charging Make the iPhone 8 More Desirable?

IHS Technology noted the popularity of wireless charging with consumers , suggesting it was a feature AAPL couldn't ignore with the iPhone 8:

"The success of wireless charging adoption from Apple's competitors is something that Apple can no longer ignore. IHS Technology consumer survey data shows over 90% of consumers want wireless charging on their next device."

Consumers may be expecting something more from the iPhone 8, though.

Qi wireless charging is mainstream now, and there were hopes Apple would adopt true wireless charging, going with over-the-air technology instead of following the pack. Many smartphone buyers skip Qi charging altogether (the charge pad can actually be larger and more cumbersome than a plug-in charger), especially if it's an additional cost.

The ability to set a device on furniture or other accessories like speaker systems or desk lamps that have integrated QI charge pads is cool, but if AAPL chooses to go with a non-standard implementation, those probably wouldn't work with the iPhone 8.

It may end up that wireless charging on the iPhone 8 is essentially a marketing move - a way to make extra money from those who care, and a bullet point on the features list that keeps the new iPhone on par with the competition. Or maybe AAPL engineers will pull off something unexpected.

Either way, now that Apple has officially joined the WPC, you can expect Qi wireless charging on the iPhone 8.

As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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The post Apple Inc. (AAPL) Tips its Hand on iPhone 8 Wireless Charging appeared first on InvestorPlace .

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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