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New Qi2 standard for faster wireless charging developed with Apple’s help

The Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) will detail a new, apparently faster, wireless charging standard for mobile devices called Qi2 at CES this week.

The WPC – a global body which handles the creation of standards around wireless power – worked with Apple which provided the basis for the new Qi2 standard (pronounced ‘chee two’, for some reason) building on its MagSafe technology.

Qi2’s ‘Magnetic Power Profile’ will ensure that phones, wearables, or other mobile devices are ‘perfectly aligned’ with charging devices, ‘thus providing improved energy efficiency and faster charging.’ So it sounds like this is about laying down an optimal standard in which magnets secure the device to the charger in the right position so they can charge properly, rather than missing the mark.

The WPC reckons one billion wireless devices – either chargers or gadgets – will be sold worldwide in 2023, and that the Qi2 standard will further expand this by opening the market to new accessories that wouldn’t otherwise be chargeable using current ‘flat surface-to-flat surface devices.’

The new standard will be introduced later this year, and certified mobile phones and chargers are expected to be available for the 2023 holiday season.

“Consumers and retailers have been telling us they’re confused concerning what devices are Qi Certified and those that claim to work with Qi but are not Qi Certified,” said Paul Struhsaker, executive director of the Wireless Power Consortium. “This confusion can lead to a poor user experience and even safety issues. Our standard assures consumers that their devices are safe, efficient, and interoperable with other brands. Qi2 will be the global standard for wireless charging and provide consumers and retailers with that assurance.

“Energy efficiency and sustainability are on everyone’s minds these days. Qi2’s perfect alignment improves energy efficiency by reducing the energy loss that can happen when the phone or the charger is not aligned. Just as important, Qi2 will greatly reduce the landfill waste associated with wired charger replacement due to plugs breaking and the stress placed on cords from daily connecting and disconnecting.”

On the wired charging side, in October the EU voted votes in favour of enforcing a ‘common charger’ for mobile devices, which would mean by the end of 2024 all mobile phones, tablets and cameras sold in the EU will have to have USB C charging, and from spring 2026 so will laptops. An obvious casualty of this decision is Apple, which uses its own proprietary charging cable and port.

Perhaps the motivation for Apple to share its IP in the wireless charging space with the rest of the industry for the development of this standard is motivated in part by a desire to be in aligned with the herd as the technology develops, rather than being forced to adopt something different later down the line.

 

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