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A report out of the Far East on Tuesday claims Apple recently requested a batch of wireless charging chip samples from Taiwanese semiconductor company MediaTek, suggesting the iPhone maker is forging ahead with development of a bespoke wireless charging solution.
Citing supply chain sources, the Economic Daily News reports Apple is shopping around for manufacturers to supply wireless chips for an iPhone "charging back cover." The wording suggests the development of wireless charging cases, though Apple's requests could be the first step toward an integrated solution to debut in a next-generation handset.
A separate report from hit-or-miss publication DigiTimes says Apple is also reviewing samples from IDT and NXP, the latter of which supplies NFC iPhone
The reports rekindle rumors surrounding Apple's ongoing development of cutting-edge wireless charging technologies. Portable device users have for decades been literally tethered to wall outlets, but that is slowly changing thanks to advances in wireless charging tech.
Apple just recently dipped its toe into the wireless charging pond with Apple Watch. The wearable is Apple's first device to eschew external electrical contacts in favor of inductive charging technology. Apple Watch's Magnetic Charging Cable, however, can be fairly described as a tether since it requires contact with the device to work. Additionally, Apple Watch is slow to charge, a drawback of many wireless charging solutions.
There is evidence that Apple is investigating powerful technology that could lead to a world without without wires.
Earlier this year, the company was said to be working with Asian suppliers to overcome challenging engineering hurdles associated with long-distance wireless charging systems for iPhone and iPad. In May, a pair of experts were hired away from uBeam, a firm developing technology that uses ultrasonic waves to charge devices from afar.