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More evidence the iPhone 8’s flagship feature will be unlike anything we’ve seen before

Published Dec 21st, 2016 10:59AM EST

Apple is rumored to launch three new iPhone versions next year, including a brand new iPhone 8 and two iPhone 7s models. The iPhone 8 will bring over a brand new design, and a bunch of highly anticipated features — including some exciting tricks that might not be available on any other smartphone.

According to multiple reports, the iPhone 8 will feature a glass design, a curved OLED screen with almost no bezels, wireless charging and a fingerprint sensor placed under the screen. These are all features that are available on existing models, and should be expected on other high-end Android handsets next year — even Samsung’s Galaxy S8 is said to feature a fingerprint sensor under the display.

But Apple’s wireless charging technology might be better than anything currently available in stores. And a new report seems to bring even more evidence that Apple is indeed working on a game-changing wireless charging iPhone for next year.

All current devices that can recharge wirelessly need to be in close contact with a charging mat. Even Apple’s Watch is magnetically coupled with the wireless charger for the procedure to work. But, as we first discussed all the way back in February, the iPhone 8 may recharge from across the room, thanks to technology from Energous. Long-distance wireless charging would let users charge their iPhones while using them. Advanced software features could even let people customize charging patterns and schedule charging times.

Neither Apple nor Energous has announced anything at this point, but people observing these companies have started connecting the dots.

Market analyst Louis Basenese revealed a potential new connection between Apple and Energous in a note seen by Apple Insider. Long-time Apple exec Billy Manning, who served as Apple’s Regulatory Certification Program Manager for seven years, is now the Director of Regulatory Operations at Energous. Manning was responsible for obtaining regulatory certification for various Apple products, including iPhone, iPad, and iPod. His move to Energous is meant to help the company get its own regulatory certification for future products.

That’s not the only link between Energous and Apple. A few days ago, Dialog announced a deal with Energous. Dialog will invest $10 million in Energous to become one of the company’s main suppliers. In return, Energous will get access to Dialog’s sales and distribution channels. Apple orders, meanwhile, account for 70% of Dialog’s business.

Energous also inked deals with iPhone makers Foxconn and Pegatron to integrate wireless charging into future product designs.

Finally, Energous said that it expects to see its wireless charger transmitter appear in consumer products in the third or early fourth quarter of 2017. As we all know, that’s when Apple launches new iPhones.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.