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Contradictory report cites 5 Apple wireless charging teams on 'iPhone 8,' no tech breakthroughs

A new report highlights Apple's involvement with wireless charging protocol specification Qi's organizing body, and claims that Apple's iPhone moves are driven more by marketing needs than by any particular drive for innovation in new products.




On Thursday, a report from Reuters noted that Apple's anniversary phone, commonly referred to as the "iPhone 8," is coming, but claims that "a radical new design is not expected." The report cites two-year and growing consumer iPhone upgrade cycles and "Apple's own business and marketing needs" as the prime movers to what technologies are included in any new iPhone.

"When a market gets saturated, the growth is all about refresh," said Bob O'Donnell of Technalysis Research to Reuters. "This is exactly what happened to PCs. It's exactly what happened to tablets. It's starting to happen to smartphones."

As an example of Apple's slow technology adoption, the report cites wireless charging, which is said to be included in one form or another in the iPhone 8. According to unnamed sources familiar with the matter, there are at least five different groups working with Apple on the technology —despite there being only two main suppliers and developers of the tech.

One well-developed technology, Qi, utilizes one coil inside a compatible device phone needing rough alignment with a matching coil on a designated pad. Apple is a member of the Wireless Power Consortium, the governing body behind the Qi charging standard.

The competing Airfuel specification supports a coil as well as magnetic resonance which does not need to be placed in the same proximity, or accuracy, as a device with a Qi coil. Apple has no known affiliation with the Airfuel specification group.

Other technologies expected to be in the $1000 and up "iPhone 8" include glass-sandwich design, a laser-based 3d facial recognition scanner, and a fingerprint sensor and FaceTime camera embedded behind the front display.

The "iPhone 7s," also expected in the fall, may include some or none of these new technologies also noted by the Reuters report. It is not clear why Reuters believes that the inclusion of these features won't constitute a "radical new design" for an "iPhone 8," however.

"iPhone set the standard for mobile computing in its first decade and we are just getting started," said Apple CEO Tim Cook on the anniversary of the iPhone. "The best is yet to come."