Plenty of digital ink has been spilled in the past couple of years regarding wireless charging. The problem here is simple. There are many variations of the technology, and even Apple Watch does not use wireless charging.
Wait. What? With Watch, you don’t have to plug the device into a cable, ipso facto and alakazam– wireless charging, right? Actually, Watch uses inductive charging. The charger itself still requires a wire, so, no, not really wireless charging in the sense that everyone thinks it should be.
Not Wireless Yet
Wireless charging of electronic devices is something of a misnomer. Wires are still involved, but they’ve moved from the device back to the charger. Samsung, ever the technology company that stands for truth and honesty, and a proponent for what was called wireless charging, no longer claims wireless charging for the Samsung Galaxy S8. I couldn’t find a word about wireless charging on the Galaxy S8 website, not even in the main specifications.
Wireless charging just ain’t what it used to be.
Because wires are involved. Put Apple Watch onto its magnetic charger– an inductive charger– and the charger has a cable which plugs into a charger which plugs into a wall outlet.
As to Watch, Apple just calls it the Apple Watch Magnetic Charger. Magnets hold the Watch onto the charger in the proper position so the inductive charger works appropriately.
But it’s not wireless in the sense of wireless charging which is a different technology. Aaron Souppouris thinks true wireless charging is almost ready. Souppouris on Energous:
If you’ve never heard of Energous, it’s a startup that uses RF to charge devices at a distance. There are a few different types of transmitters, but the basic tech involves a WattUp charging station sending out RF waves in a focused beam toward a compatible device. A chip in the gadget then converts the waves into direct-current electricity. This “rectification” process isn’t new, but Energous’ claim is it’s able to do it efficiently enough to make sense for charging small devices like wearables and phones.
Now that’s wireless charging. Samsung’s smartphones do not charge wireless in the true sense. Ditto for Watch.
So, for now, what we’ll get on Watch and future iPhone models is standard inductive charging with a charging pad or magnetic inductive charger which includes charging technology within the device and a charger, one which requires a wire to the charger which is plugged into an electrical outlet.
What we won’t get is the option to walk into a room with a true wireless charger system built in– or sit at a desk where a wireless charger is stationed– and have our Watch and iPhone charged up while we move around or sit down.
Yet, Energous says it can be done and it will be done.
The company still says it has a “tier-one” partner that it previously called “one of the top-five consumer-technology companies in the world.”
I wonder who that could be?
Macworld UK ran a good article explaining how inductive charger could be used to recharge an iPhone and iPad, but they called it wireless charging. Check out all the wires.
Wireless charging as it is defined today requires an inductive pad or dock. Wireless charging as we want it to be isn’t quite ready for primetime.