Rumor: Both Apple & Samsung may introduce wireless charging in 2013 smartphones

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Samsung's upcoming flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S IV, will offer inductive wireless charging as an add-on ability, while Apple could add the same functionality to its next iPhone, according to a new rumor.

Taiwan tech industry publication DigiTimes, which has a spotty track record, reported on Friday that both Samsung and Apple are "expected" to add wireless charging to their 2013 flagship smartphones, citing unnamed industry sources.

Skech Case
The Sketch wireless charging case for iPhone 5 was introduced earlier this year.


"Apple is likely to adopt the wireless charging technology developed internally," the report said, "but it remains unknown if the next-generation iPhone will come with built-in wireless charging capability or with other attached accessories," the report said.

The details on Samsung are more specific, claiming that the Galaxy S IV will feature Qi wireless charging technology run by the Wireless Power Consortium. Users will reportedly be required to buy replacement back covers and an accessory charging pad to be able to recharge their handset without plugging in a cable.

Industry insiders reportedly believe that Samsung's adoption of Qi standards could help make wireless charging a mainstream feature among smartphones. Competing standards are available from Alliance for Wireless Power and Power Matters Alliance.

Apple has shown interest in wireless charging, and took it one step further to contact-less charging in a patent application detailed by AppleInsider last November. Apple described its method as a "realistic and practical" way to provide over-the-air electricity to low power devices within a distance of one meter.

Apple's concept for a wireless charging accessory would be able to provide electricity to a number of devices located within the near field, or "virtual charging area." Low-power devices cited by Apple include a mouse and keyboard.

Apple also secured a more traditional inductive wireless charging patent this January.

Some accessory makers already offer special cases that give the iPhone wireless charging capabilities. Among major smartphone venders, the now defunct Palm Pre was the first to offer inductive wireless charging when paired with the Touchstone dock accessory.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 37
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Taiwan tech industry publication <em>DigiTimes</em>, which has never been correct in the history of the universe, reported <a href="http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20130308PD210.html">on Friday</a> that both Samsung and Apple are "expected" to add wireless charging to their 2013 flagship smartphones, citing unnamed industry sources.

    There. I fixed that for you.
  • Reply 2 of 37
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,805member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post





    There. I fixed that for you.


    http://techland.time.com/2012/05/14/digitimes-apple-rumors/


     


    "But the thing is, Digitimes isn’t just wrong some of the time. When it comes to the big Apple stories, it’s wrong most of the time. Sometimes wildly so. It’s reported that its sources had said that Apple was going to release MacBooks with AMD processors, iMacs with touch screens, iPhones with built-in projectors and iPads with OLED displays. Those products, and others mentioned in Digitimes articles, never showed up. . . "

  • Reply 3 of 37
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member


    I predict that we'll see an iPhone without any port or SIM tray within the next 3 years. Everything will be built-in or wireless. It's the logical conclusion of Apple's minimalist design philosophy.

  • Reply 4 of 37
    kdarlingkdarling Posts: 1,640member


    Loved wireless charging on WebOS devices, especially the way they went into a different mode with speakerphone, etc.


     


    We've had too many charging connectors break on other well used portable devices, from HTC phones to my MacBook's frayed MagSafe (that an Apple Store charged me $80 to replace because I "didn't have an appointment to see a Genius to knock the price down").


     


    Now what would be really nice (but not likely) is if everyone had compatible chargers. 

  • Reply 5 of 37
    Would never leave this plugged in so it wouldn't be of any use to me. Not interested in running up my electrical bill for something as gimmicky as 'wireless' charging. DVR's have already been found to use more electricity in a month than refrigerators. This wouldn't use nearly as much vampire power but still more than I'd like just have such a minor convenience.
  • Reply 6 of 37
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Would never leave this plugged in so it wouldn't be of any use to me. Not interested in running up my electrical bill for something as gimmicky as 'wireless' charging. DVR's have already been found to use more electricity in a month than refrigerators. This wouldn't use nearly as much vampire power but still more than I'd like just have such a minor convenience.

    There's more involved than you think. When you figure that the number of phones in the world number in the billions, even a few watts of waste power adds up to a couple of full-size nuclear or coal units. We can't afford to be wasting power on that scale.

    And in my experience, there's not really any extra convenience. I have wireless charging for the handsets on our Wii. In order to use it, I have to first find where I put it, then plug it in, then carefully align the handset with the charger (if you don't get it exactly right, it won't charge) - and do all of that hours ahead of when I'll need it. Alternatively, I could leave it plugged in and wasting power all the time, but I refuse to do that. Even if I did, though, it takes far longer to align the handset with the charger than it takes to plug in a connector.
  • Reply 7 of 37
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    kdarling wrote: »
    We've had too many charging connectors break on other well used portable devices, from HTC phones to my MacBook's frayed MagSafe (that an Apple Store charged me $80 to replace because I "didn't have an appointment to see a Genius to knock the price down").

    Yeah, wireless chargers never break. /s

    In any event, if you've had that many broken connectors, then you need to handle your devices with a little more respect. In all the phones, tablets, and laptops around our house, we never had a failure - with just one exception. I had a MacBook Pro which had the first version of MagSafe and it failed at the connect. Since Apple admitted it was a design failure, they replaced it at no charge.
  • Reply 8 of 37
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,875member
    Rumor or not, this is a no brainer and will happen in the next few years. You will simply see the Apple mobile devices start charging once within a certain range of a charging base station. I have been saying this for years and seriously have no doubts. I hope Scamsung go for a toothbrush type system and Apple opt for the more sci fi Witricty (http://www.witricity.com) style system with a reasonable in room range to set them apart from the scumbags.
  • Reply 9 of 37
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Rumor or not, this is a no brainer and will happen in the next few years. You will simply see the Apple mobile devices start charging once within a certain range of a charging base station. I have been saying this for years and seriously have no doubts. I hope Scamsung go for a toothbrush type system and Apple opt for the more sci fi Witricty (http://www.witricity.com) style system with a reasonable in room range to set them apart from the scumbags.

    I just don't see it. Apple is very environmentally conscious and I don't see them implementing this type of wasteful scheme.
  • Reply 10 of 37
    muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,328member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post



    Rumor or not, this is a no brainer and will happen in the next few years. You will simply see the Apple mobile devices start charging once within a certain range of a charging base station. I have been saying this for years and seriously have no doubts. I hope Scamsung go for a toothbrush type system and Apple opt for the more sci fi Witricty (http://www.witricity.com) style system with a reasonable in room range to set them apart from the scumbags.


     


    Unfortunately there are some physical limitations imposed by object dimensions in near field operation - which is necessary for good efficiency - so it's hard to see a charging distance on a room scale for a small device.

  • Reply 11 of 37
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member


    I'll get on board when we have true wireless and nothing needs to be plugged into an outlet.  Last thing I want to travel with is another gadget for wireless charging.  My cables work just fine.

  • Reply 12 of 37
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post





    There's more involved than you think. When you figure that the number of phones in the world number in the billions, even a few watts of waste power adds up to a couple of full-size nuclear or coal units. We can't afford to be wasting power on that scale.


     


    And yet electric toothbrushes have used inductive charging for years without Greenpeace complaining.

  • Reply 13 of 37
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,875member
    muppetry wrote: »
    Unfortunately there are some physical limitations imposed by object dimensions in near field operation - which is necessary for good efficiency - so it's hard to see a charging distance on a room scale for a small device.

    This from the link I posted: WiTricity power sources and capture devices are specially designed magnetic resonators that efficiently transfer power over large distances via the magnetic near-field. These proprietary source and device designs and the electronic systems that control them support efficient energy transfer over distances that are many times the size of the sources/devices themselves.
  • Reply 14 of 37
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,875member
    jragosta wrote: »
    I just don't see it. Apple is very environmentally conscious and I don't see them implementing this type of wasteful scheme.

    What is the energy loss estimated to be for the electrical grid absent the use of magnetic resonators?
  • Reply 15 of 37
    muadibemuadibe Posts: 128member
    Would never leave this plugged in so it wouldn't be of any use to me. Not interested in running up my electrical bill for something as gimmicky as 'wireless' charging. DVR's have already been found to use more electricity in a month than refrigerators. This wouldn't use nearly as much vampire power but still more than I'd like just have such a minor convenience.

    Power usage could be minimized if charging bases were smart enough to detect the presence of a compatible device. Once a device is detected, the power level could be determined and the base station would power on if necessary.
  • Reply 16 of 37
    muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,328member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post




    Quote:

    Originally Posted by muppetry View Post



    Unfortunately there are some physical limitations imposed by object dimensions in near field operation - which is necessary for good efficiency - so it's hard to see a charging distance on a room scale for a small device.




    This from the link I posted: WiTricity power sources and capture devices are specially designed magnetic resonators that efficiently transfer power over large distances via the magnetic near-field. These proprietary source and device designs and the electronic systems that control them support efficient energy transfer over distances that are many times the size of the sources/devices themselves.


     


    I've seen that claim - near-field resonant magnetic coupling over large distances (many times the size of the devices) - but I've seen no data to support that and no indication of what they mean by "many".  Consideration of the basic physics, in which the near field is ¼ ? or less and limited to only a few times the size of the resonator, that does not suggest that something the size of a phone could be coupled efficiently over more than ~ 1 m.

  • Reply 17 of 37
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    What is the energy loss estimated to be for the electrical grid absent the use of magnetic resonators?

    I've seen various efficiency estimates for wireless charging. The BEST indicates that efficiency might hit 80% under the most ideal circumstances - but that's the ones where the device is in contact with the charger. But let's assume the most efficient 80% possible.

    I believe that the charger is 10 W. So if we have 80% efficiency, it requires 12.5 W for a wireless charger. 2. 5 extra watts per phone. Figure a billion phones in the world and that's 2.5 GW of power.

    Now, most phones aren't plugged in all the time. For example, I plug mine in at night and therefore it's being charged about 1/3 of the time. So we're looking at roughly 1 GW of wasted power - or a full scale unit for a coal fired power plant.

    But that's best case. Most wireless systems are far less efficient than 80% (especially the ones that will start charging your phone as soon as you walk into a room). If efficiency was only 50%, you'd need four full scale units.

    And that even assumes that there's no power loss when you're not actually charging. In reality, the vampire power is significant, as well.

    In the end, it comes down to mentality. If something adds no value, why waste energy on it? We have enough energy problems as it is - why make it worse?
  • Reply 18 of 37
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    muadibe wrote: »
    Power usage could be minimized if charging bases were smart enough to detect the presence of a compatible device. Once a device is detected, the power level could be determined and the base station would power on if necessary.

    Oh, you might be able to reduce energy losses - but there's still significant waste involved. And since it doesn't take any longer to plug your phone in than to position a phone on a wireless charger, there's no real savings.

    Compounding the difficulty are those pesky laws of physics. Energy level decreases as the square of the distance. So that energy is radiating out into space in all directions and only a portion is actually hitting the device. That can be improved by using a focused radiator, but that lessens the advantage of flexibility. The more focused your beam, the more you need to be careful to make sure the phone is in exactly the right place.

    And even if you had a perfectly focused beam, there are still energy losses in conversion to radio energy and back. That can't be avoided.

    And, finally, even if you don't care about the energy, a wireless charging system adds volume and weight to the device - and it is unlikely that Apple is going to want to make their phone significantly larger and heavier just because a few lazy people can't be bothered to stick their phone into a dock at night.
  • Reply 19 of 37
    aross99aross99 Posts: 87member
    Makes me wonder if this is why Apple doesn't make a dock for the iPhone 5...
  • Reply 20 of 37
    muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,328member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post




    Quote:

    Originally Posted by muadibe View Post



    Power usage could be minimized if charging bases were smart enough to detect the presence of a compatible device. Once a device is detected, the power level could be determined and the base station would power on if necessary.




    Oh, you might be able to reduce energy losses - but there's still significant waste involved. And since it doesn't take any longer to plug your phone in than to position a phone on a wireless charger, there's no real savings.



    Compounding the difficulty are those pesky laws of physics. Energy level decreases as the square of the distance. So that energy is radiating out into space in all directions and only a portion is actually hitting the device. That can be improved by using a focused radiator, but that lessens the advantage of flexibility. The more focused your beam, the more you need to be careful to make sure the phone is in exactly the right place.



    And even if you had a perfectly focused beam, there are still energy losses in conversion to radio energy and back. That can't be avoided.



    And, finally, even if you don't care about the energy, a wireless charging system adds volume and weight to the device - and it is unlikely that Apple is going to want to make their phone significantly larger and heavier just because a few lazy people can't be bothered to stick their phone into a dock at night.


     


    You are misunderstanding the technology. The energy is not being transported via radiative EM waves but by near-field magnetic coupling. Not only do those fields not decrease with the square of distance, but since it is resonant rather than radiative the rate and efficiency are decoupled. Near-field high-Q coupling of that kind can achieve much higher than 80% efficiency. We've had this discussion before though.

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