No Wireless Charging in iPhone 5

September 11, 2012 by Jeff Shepard

Apple's introduction of the iPhone 5 was lacking in at least one area: there is no wireless charging capability. The Nokia Lumina 920, introduced recently, was the first U.S. smartphone to have embedded wireless charging compatible with the Qi standard. In all, products from over 120 companies are certified as compliant with the Qi standard, according to the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC).

Neither Apple nor Samsung are members of the WPC, even though 8.5 million Qi-capable devices have been sold worldwide. The largest market for wireless charging is Japan, where it is almost impossible to purchase a mobile phone without the capability embedded in it, according to the WPC.

Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney believes Apple may be trying to force their own standard, just like they did by not offering micro USB like other smartphone vendors. "Apple is not always first to technology. I am not therefore surprised," Dulaney said. "Google and Nokia/Microsoft have been shown to be far more aggressive."

"They don't support Qi. Again not surprising," Dulaney continued. "This means that as Apple falls behind in a number of technical areas there will still be value propositions for the other platforms to offer. This is a good thing. It gives us choice and competition."

In an interview (on All Things D), Apple Senior VP Phil Schiller, noted that the wireless charging systems still have to be plugged into the wall, so it's not clear how much convenience they add. The widely-adopted USB cord, meanwhile, can charge in wall outlets, computers and even on airplanes, he said.

"Having to create another device you have to plug into the wall is actually, for most situations, more complicated," Schiller said.