Apple is looking to add wireless charging technology to the iPhone, according to a Bloomberg report. The company is currently working with partners in Asia on the technology, but likely won’t introduce it before the next year, according to the report.
Wireless charging would allow consumers to charge their phone without having to plug it in, simply by placing it near a wireless charging station. It is based on electromagnetic fields, and requires the phone to have a special receiver.
The technology isn’t all that new. Electric toothbrushes have been using wireless charging, which is sometimes also called inductive charging, for years. A number of Android phones already offer wireless charging, and manufacturers of third-party phone case manufacturers have also allowed iPhone users to charge their device without a power plug.
However, most current wireless charging implementations require consumers to place their phone on a special charging pad; Apple is reportedly looking into ways to charge phones over greater distances. This could make the company’s approach to wireless charging more user-friendly, but also harder to implement.
IHS Technology analyst David Green cautioned Friday that we don’t really know whether Apple is going to embrace this more novel approach. He added that wireless charging devices that don’t need to be placed on or near a charging pad won’t be available any time soon: “Commercial availability by September 2017 would definitely be the earliest expected commercial launch,” Green wrote in a research note.