With the rise of smartphones, the ubiquity of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and the prominence of cloud services like iCloud and Dropbox, it’s clear that the future is wireless. Much of the experience of using an iPhone is already wireless, including things that used to require cables, like syncing your phone to your computer. Charging your iPhone battery is one of the last areas that still requires a cable.
But not for much longer.
Thanks to a technology called wireless charging, you can cut the charging cable and keep your iPhone powered without plugging it in ever again. And, while the technology that’s available now is cool, what’s coming is even better.
What Is Wireless Charging?
The name tells the story of what wireless charging technology is: a way to charge the batteries of devices like smartphones without plugging them in to a power source.
As we all know, right now charging your iPhone involves finding your charging cableand plugging your phone into your computer or a power adapter that is then plugged into an electrical outlet. It’s not a difficult process, but it can be annoying if you lose your adapter or your charging cable breaks—something that can lead to regular purchases of replacements.
Wireless charging lets you ditch cables entirely, but it’s not quite as magical as it sounds.
You still need some accessories—at least for now.
Two Competing Standards
There’s often a battle between competing versions of a new technology to determine which way the technology will go (remember VHS vs. Beta?). That’s true for wireless charging, too. The competing standards are called Qi and PMA.
Qi is deployed in more devices right now, but PMA has one of the most high-profile uses: the wireless charging stations available in some Starbucks.
It’s still early days for the technology, so there’s no clear winner yet. Check out this article for more about the standards and the science behind the technology.