iPhone 8's Coolest Feature Now in Doubt

Wireless charging may still find its way into the iPhone 8 later this year. But Apple's rumored ambitions to let you charge your phone from anywhere in the room may have just lost some stream.

Credit: ConceptsiPhone (YouTube)

(Image credit: ConceptsiPhone (YouTube))

That's according to a group of financial analysts who publish their Apple predictions under the name Copperfield Research. A research note obtained by 9to5Mac contends long-range wireless charging won't be included in the iPhone 8.

Instead, the analysts believe Apple's many moves of late suggest the next iPhone will feature wireless charging that would require the smartphone to sit on conductive pad to recharge. That would still be a new feature for Apple's iPhone, which only charges via a Lightning cable in its current form.

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Copperfield Research analysts are basing their findings on Apple's patent applications. They note that Apple "has filed for more than 16 patent applications" on inductive charging and not long-range charging that would use RF technology. The analysts also cite Apple's inductive charging supplier, IDTI, which believes Apple could be working on its own wireless charging technology and not one that would use a third-party supplier with long-range charging.

And at least one Apple patent found by the Copperfield Research analysts calls into question the value of long-range wireless charging with RF technology. "The technology is inherently inefficient delivering energy because massive power is lot in transmission," the patent reads.

Among the many rumors swirling around Apple's iPhone 8 plans is the suggestion that Apple would bring wireless charging to its phones — something rival devices have offered for a while. For example, several reports suggest the iPhone 8 will reintroduce an all-glass design to the iPhone lineup, in part because that would make it easier to wirelessly charge the phones.

While reports have suggested a standard wireless charging experience in which users would place the iPhone 8 on a charging pad, more compelling rumors have said that Apple could work with a charging company named Energous to deliver long-range wireless charging. Energous has a technology called WattUp that lets users wirelessly boost the battery life on a device from anywhere within a room.

It uses RF to make it happen, meaning users wouldn't need to be tied to a charging pad through inductive accessories currently available. Energous has been repeatedly linked with Apple, with the company's CEO telling The Verge this month that Energous had secured a partnership with "one of the largest consumer electronic companies in the world."

However, a partnership with Apple doesn't necessarily mean a feature is coming to an iPhone anytime soon. And at least Copperfield Research believes it won't be happening this year.

Don Reisinger is CEO and founder of D2 Tech Agency. A communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter, Don has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine, The New York Times, Forbes, Computerworld, Digital Trends, TechCrunch and Slashgear. He has also written for Tom's Guide for many years, contributing hundreds of articles on everything from phones to games to streaming and smart home.