There’s been a lot of excitement, and a lot of shouts of “Finally!” since September, when Apple announced–alongside word of the iPhone X–that it would be launching a wireless charging pad called AirPower.
Since then, the world has waited for Apple to make the product available. Until now, iDevices haven’t had the option of an Apple-made charging pad (although other companies have been selling similar devices for a while now).
The appeal is easy to understand: up to three devices can be charged simultaneously by merely resting them on the pad. No fumbling for cords!
They’re not alone, either. Even the Samsung Fast Charge Wireless Charging Convertible Stand, which is more conveniently designed to function as a stand, providing wireless power whenever you set your device on the stand.
It’s a great thought, but what if it’s not really the answer people are looking for?
They want to get rid of cords, but the AirPower would itself require a cord to function. And the whole appeal of getting rid of cords is having more mobility for the devices. For Qi-standard inductive charging, the devices aren’t movable or usable while on the mat, because contact with the charger is crucial to staying within its maximum 4 cm “wireless” limits.
A big concern is the long-term effects on iPhones batteries from Qi charging. A ZDNet report found that Qi charging pads will wear out the phone’s battery faster than cable charging. The reason, the report states, is that “when the iPhone is being charged using a cable, the phone is being powered by the cord (there is some load on the battery, but it’s minimal), but when using wireless charging, the battery is what’s powering the iPhone, with the wireless charger only being used to top up the battery. This means that by switching from a cable to a wireless charger, my battery isn’t getting a break, and in turn, this is making me go through recharge cycles at an even faster rate.”
If that’s not enough, inductive charging is known to be slower than standard corded charging. CNet says that 2018 inductive chargers are sending 30 watts of power to devices, not the 40 the wall socket provides. People might get bored waiting and just use their standard lightning connector to get juice flowing faster. Apple’s AirPower is a great idea for overnight charging, but what about that crucial midday recharge?
So, what’s the solution?
Go bigger–and better.
The new technology brought by Wireless-electric Grid Local Air Networks (WigL) meets the need for cordless power, but without the restrictive need for close contact. “Wiggle,” as it’s called, converts AC or DC Smarter Power into a two-way signal via a WigL transmitter. WigL transmitters broadcast targeted power through the air to devices that can receive it–similarly to how our phones receive data via Wi-Fi. The receiver converts the signal into DC to harvest the power. The received power is then stored or used to power the device.
Battery concerns are gone, because constant power is available. There’s no concern about the Qi standard’s requirement to be close to the mat; that would be like requiring a laptop to get its data by putting it up against the Wi-Fi router. WigL technology allows for smart power to travel longer distances using existing data signals, while connected software decides how much and when to use the energy, optimizing performance.
WigL can turn a wall outlet into a transmitter, and devices can be outfitted with internal receivers that could easily receive the power. No need for additional product expenditures. No waiting for release dates. No putting your phones down for a charging nap. Just a constant, smart, abundant cloud of power keeping devices running.