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The iPhone 8 will have wireless charging, but not the kind we want

Published Feb 21st, 2017 2:56PM EST

For some reason, there’s been a lot of iPhone 8 chatter on Tuesday as various reports came out detailing some of the features, specs, and design elements of this year’s hottest iPhone. Ming-Chi Kuo talked about the phone’s new 3D camera tech, TrendForce released a bunch of design and specs details based on supply chain information, and a brand new report tacks yet another key iPhone 8 feature: Wireless charging.

First seen by Apple Insider, a new research note from Cowen and Company’s Timothy Arcuri says that the iPhone 8 will indeed support wireless charging, but the solution won’t be as exciting as we want it to be. Over the past year, multiple reports said the iPhone 8 will feature long-range wireless charging developed by Energous. The company’s solution can recharge a device across the room, without requiring physical contact between the handset and the wireless charging station.

But Arcuri says the phone will support either Qi or Airfuel protocols. The former needs physical contact between the charging pad and the iPhone, while Airfuel’s method is a bit longer range but still needs to be in close proximity to the charging pad. The analyst said that existing chipsets already support both wireless charging methods, with the Galaxy S6 being an example of a device with similar wireless charging support.

Energous’ technology isn’t likely to be seen in the next iPhone. As Apple Insider notes, Energous’ WattUp needs 5GHz radio frequency and beam-forming to charge devices over-the-air at longer ranges, but the has FCC so far only approved a version that delivers low power over a few inches. As we’ve noted in previous coverage, however, Energous has said that its longer-range technology is still on schedule to hit the market over the next year, and all devices equipped with its receiver chips will be compatible with new longer-range charging stations once they’re released.

Arcuri believes that Energous’ higher power requirements for the longer range version might never be approved by the FCC.

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.

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