Why Apple needs to add wireless charging to the iPhone

Consumer awareness of wireless charging technology has doubled over the past year, driven in part by the Apple Watch. The rapidly changing tech landscape has left the iPhone as one of the few flagship smartphones not supporting this technology.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributing Writer

Consumer awareness of wireless charging technology has doubled, hitting 76 percent of consumers in the United States, United Kingdom and China over the past year, claims a recent consumer survey carried out by IHS Technology.

In 2014, this figure stood at only 36 percent.

"This year is proving to be a breakthrough year for wireless charging, as a substantial majority of consumers are now aware of it," said Vicky Yussuff, an analyst for wireless power at IHS Technology. "A key factor behind this growth in awareness was the adoption of wireless charging by Samsung, Apple and other high profile volume manufacturers, as well as rising recognition of the wireless charging infrastructure available in the public sector."

The survey also found that 20 percent of respondents are using wireless charging, with 16 percent using it daily.

"The first step to convert awareness into actual adoption is to correctly identify the customer proposition, ensure the technology is available and offer it at a reasonable price," Yussuff said. "The second step is to implement the technology effectively. Wireless charging must be executed in a way that is logical to the user and easy to use, so users will actually enjoy their experiences and will want to continue using it. As this starts to happen, we will see increasing numbers of consumers using wireless charging as their primary way to charge their mobile devices."

Shipments of wireless power receivers in smartphones are expected to exceed 120 million units in 2015, claims IHS, a figure that's being buoyed by sales of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. Wearables are also having an impact, with shipments of wireless charging receivers rising to more than 20 million units in 2015, with the Apple Watch expected to take more than 70 percent of total revenue in wireless-charging-enabled wearable devices.

"These major product roll outs reveal a clear commitment to wireless charging from leading brands," said David Green, research manager for wireless power at IHS Technology. "Apple, Samsung and others have certainly helped raise consumer awareness, which in turn can help drive demand. Further examples include the LG G4 and special Verizon edition of the Sony Xperia, both with dual-mode Qi and PMA standard wireless charging, and the recent BMW 7 Series and other automotive announcements."

And people seem happy with what wireless charging has to offer.

"Nine in 10 consumers who have used wireless charging reported being satisfied with their current solution, which suggests that the wireless charging solutions available today are already matching consumer needs and expectations," Green said. "Effectively this is the customer retention rate for wireless charging - and any company in the world would take a customer retention rate of 90 percent for any product."

Now that Apple has begun to dabble with wireless charging it seems only logical for it to extend that technology to the iPhone, especially given the high retention rate. Not only would it free iPhone users from the tyranny of the cable, but it would also spur new and exciting accessories for the ecosystem.

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