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24 August 2017

The best evidence that all 3 new iPhones will have wireless charging

In a few weeks, Apple will challenge Samsung for smartphone dominance when it finally releases the next-generation iPhone, and rumors seem to indicate that the device — unofficially dubbed the iPhone 8 — will include wireless charging.

Now, the reputable battery and accessories company RAVpower is jumping the gun to announce what it calls the first wireless charging pad made with special technology just for “next-gen Apple devices” and tells Mashable mass production has already begun.

If this isn’t considered a legitimate confirmation that wireless charging will be included in the next iPhone — I’m not sure what is. 

Chances are you probably aren’t familiar with RAVpower, and we don’t necessarily blame you. All you really need to know is that the company has been around since 2011 and has been making battery packs, cables, and mobile accessories ever since.

The company may not be as well-known as Anker, which was also founded in 2011 and also rose to popularity selling high-quality battery packs at super low prices, but it’s every bit as legitimate. RAVpower isn’t some knockoff company cranking out iPhone accessories based on online leaks.

And if it’s making wireless charging pads for the new iPhones, it means they’re spending some serious money to do so. To be wrong at this stage — mere weeks away from the official announcement — would be huge a gamble that would hurt not only the company’s finances, but its reputation.

As fast as wired charging

At first glance the $45-50 wireless charging pad RAVPower shared exclusively with Mashable looks like any old generic Qi-based wireless charger

RAVPower's new wireless charging pad that'll work with next-gen iPhones.

RAVPower’s new wireless charging pad that’ll work with next-gen iPhones.

RAVpower’s website doesn’t explicitly say the charger’s for the new iPhone 8, but the company’s general manager Allen Fung didn’t shy away from providing us with more detail when we asked. He sent Mashable the following statement (emphasis ours):

“Our sources tell us the next iPhones have special technology for wireless charging that we have in this charger. Our wireless charger will wirelessly charge the next iPhones at full speed, as well as being able to charge other mobile devices wirelessly.”

Apple typically doesn’t allow its partners to announce things that would hint at any of its unreleased products and forces all companies to sign strict non-disclosure agreements.

So why the heck would RAVPower shoot itself in the foot by making this announcement? Fung said it himself: His sources, which are unlikely to be Apple, but probably people close to Apple who are familiar with the schematics, have shared detailed information with his company.

We’ve already seen leaked images of what are believed to be Apple’s own wireless charging pads, so it’s definitely possible RAVPower has the inside scoop on the special tech needed to start production on them now. It’s one thing to manufacture iPhone plastic cases based on leaked dimensions, but another to build accessories that require chips and controllers, and safety certifications to ensure they don’t explode. RAVPower is clearly confident in the information its executives are receiving.

Leaked images of what are believed to be wireless charging pads for the new iPhones

Leaked images of what are believed to be wireless charging pads for the new iPhones

Independently, a source familiar with RAVPower’s wireless charging pad told Mashable the “full speed” claim means the iPhone will charge up just as fast as it would when it’s plugged in. It’s a no-brainer that Apple would include fast wireless charging for the new iPhones since Samsung’s Galaxy phones already support a similar feature.

The product’s website says the wireless charging pad can deliver 10 watts of output charge and was designed to work with “next-gen Apple devices” and also supports Android devices as well. 

Let’s break down what that means: A standard wired power adapter, like the one included with every iPhone, only delivers 5 watts of power. That’s fine, but if you want to charge your iPhone faster, you need a power adapter that delivers more energy, like one with 10 watts or 12 watts. 

A wireless charging pad with 10 watts of output would send twice the amount of power wirelessly to next-gen iPhones. Why would it need double the output for wireless charging? 

The answer is really simple: power loss. When you’re charging wirelessly, the charging pad sends the same amount of power through to the device as with a wired cable, but you lose some energy from the excess heat. That wasted power means your phone’s not being juiced up at full capacity.

Wireless charging for all new iPhones

It’s also important to note the careful wording for “iPhones” (plural) in Fung’s statement. Fung wouldn’t elaborate further on his statement when asked, but we can use deductive reasoning to connect the dots ourselves.

For months, reports have claimed wireless charging would be coming to not just the iPhone 8, but also the revamped version of the 4.7- and 5.5-inch iPhones (tentatively referred to by leakers and media as the “7S” and “7S Plus”). KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has been extremely accurate reporting on unannounced iPhone features, was the first to report on this.

In recent weeks, we’ve seen a number of leaked images that appear to back up those claims, including dummy models with glass panels. Glass, as you might already know, is a better material for inductive charging to pass through compared to metal.

A dummy model for the new "iPhone 7S Plus" with glass back for wireless charging

A dummy model for the new “iPhone 7S Plus” with glass back for wireless charging

To add to all of this, famous Apple leaker Sonny Dickson told Mashable his sources have confirmed all three new iPhones will indeed have wireless charging. He also said that Apple probably won’t include a wireless charger included in the box and sell it separately. Apple blogger John Gruber has also heard the wireless charger will cost extra. 

That makes sense. Samsung’s flagship Galaxy phones have come with built-in wireless charging for years but have never shipped with a wireless charger in the box. 

Another prolific iPhone leaker, Benjamin Geskin, also told us he’s confident Apple will introduce wireless charging for all of this year’s new iPhones. Geskin has been the source of a steady number of leaks on the iPhone 8, most of which have been corroborated by other reports.

And if you’re still on the fence that wireless charging will be one of the key features Apple touts at its unveil event… well, maybe this soothing new charging sound hidden in iOS 11, which could be what plays when you place a new iPhone on a wireless charging pad, might convince you it’s happening.

We keep saying this every day, but this year’s iPhone event is going to be the biggest ever. Not only will we get a brand new iPhone with plenty of new features, but we’re also expecting some big changes to the current models. 

The latest rumors claim Apple might hold its iPhone event on Sept. 12 and launch the phones on Sept. 22. Are you shaking from excitement? Because we are. 

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