Explainer: Why Apple didn’t put long-distance charging into an iPhone, and won’t for some time

Back when Android manufacturers were adding wireless charging to their phones and Apple wasn’t, one popular theory was that the iPhone maker was skipping contact-based chargers and holding out for long-distance ones. In the end, of course, Apple finally opted for the same contact-based Qi chargers as everyone else.

But resonance chargers – which require the device to be placed extremely close to the charging coils – offer limited benefit. Sure, it’s convenient to be able to just put your iPhone X down on a wireless charging dock and pick it up again later without having to fiddle with the Lightning cable, but you still have just as many cables as ever – they are now simply attached to docks.

RF-based long-distance charging – promoted by companies like Energous – promises far greater benefit, allowing devices to be charged anywhere in the same room as the charger. So why didn’t Apple wait … ?

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