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Apple joins Wireless Power Consortium ahead of 'iPhone 8'

"iPhone 8" OLED concept via iMore.

With this year's flagship iPhone expected to be the first to boast wireless charging, Apple has officially joined the Wireless Power Consortium, the governing body behind the Qi charging standard.

Apple was added to the official Wireless Power Consortium website on Sunday, where the iPhone maker is listed as a member of the organization. The news comes as rumors of wireless charging in this year's so-called "iPhone 8" continue to heat up.

Just one day before Apple became listed on the consortium's website, the latest rumor suggested wireless charging with the "iPhone 8" will be made possible with an accessory that could be sold separately.

The latest rumors, combined with Apple joining the consortium, might pour cold water on hopes that Apple could introduce truly wireless charging. The company Energous has been suggesting for months that it is working with Apple on over-the-air charging, but such technology may not be ready for primetime in a flagship iPhone.

Apple does offer a form of wireless charging with the magnetic connector for Apple Watch, which is based on the Qi standard. However Apple uses an authenticated, proprietary variant that means only its own official and approved MFi-licensed charging devices will work on Apple products.

Beyond wireless charging, the "iPhone 8" is rumored to introduce a wide array of new technologies, headlined by an edge-to-edge OLED display. It has been claimed that components like the Touch ID sensor, FaceTime camera and earpiece speaker may be hidden beneath the 5.2-inch screen.

Other rumors peg the device with a $1,000 and up price tag, and claim that Apple could also include an iris scanner to complement Touch ID for secure logins.

In addition, Apple is also expected to launch successors to the iPhone 7 series in similar designs, sized with the same 4.7- and 5.5-inch screens. It is rumored that those handsets will stick with LCD technology for their displays, while the OLED iPhone will have a "considerably better" panel, helping to justify its jumbo-sized price tag.

According to well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, all three 2017 iPhones will feature wireless charging technology, though the OLED model will need a new thin graphite sheet component to prevent overheating.

Wireless charging could be a major selling point for this year's iPhones. Research from IHS Technology shows that over 90 percent of consumers indicated they want wireless charging on their next handset.

IHS predicts that more than 350 million total devices capable of wireless charging will ship in 2017, with new growth driven by the addition of Apple's iPhone.