iPhones Might Go Fully Wireless in 2021

Posted on December 5, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Apple, iOS, Mobile with 39 Comments

Apple might have some wild things planned for its upcoming generations of iPhones. Although we aren’t expecting any major iPhone upgrades in 2020 apart from the usual iterative changes, the company could make some major changes in 2021.

According to a new report from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, one of Apple’s 2021 iPhones could be fully wireless(via MacRumors)

And yes, that means the company will be getting rid of the charging port, and fully rely on wireless charging instead. The idea behind that is pretty wild and definitely requires–as some Apple execs would say–a lot of courage. People are expecting Apple to make the switch to Type-C on the iPhone, but it looks like the company could be fully skipping Type-C and move completely to wireless on the highest-end iPhone in 2021.

That would make some sort of sense if Apple had launched the AirPower, but that obviously didn’t happen. So if Apple does go ahead and remove the charging port from the highest-end iPhone in 2021, the company will have to offer some sort of wireless charger out-of-the-box.

Kuo also says that Apple is still expected to launch the low-end iPhone SE2 sometime in early 2020, with the company following up with the iPhone SE2 Plus in early 2021.

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Comments (39)

39 responses to “iPhones Might Go Fully Wireless in 2021”

  1. bluvg

    Pretty wild? Seems like a pretty obvious move to me. It's not special now that Apple is also considering it, when many others have been going down the wireless path for longer.

    Hopefully the negative effects of wireless charging on battery life will be solved by then, though. The last report I saw on that were not impressive.

    • MikeGalos

      In reply to bluvg:

      About the only thing involving "courage" is not the wireless charging but going wireless for all data connections which means one more pass at making their ecosystem (including hard to "just upgrade" devices like cars) obsolete.

      • ontariopundit

        In reply to MikeGalos:

        Every technological advance makes older technologies obsolete.

        When Apple was the first manufacturer to eliminate floppy disks they made floppies obsolete. Same with shifting to USB and abandoning the earlier printer and modem ports.

        You needed an adapter to use older printers. Or FireWire replacing SCSI on Apple's consumer devices (i.e. those without expansion slots).

        You can choose to keep an aging technology and charge the customers for it or you can eliminate an almost dead technology and give your users the benefits of cutting the cord.

        Floppies were useless when Apple went optical drive only. It was only legacy stuff that I used floppies for.

        No floppy drive meant that computers could be that extra bit smaller or could carry more advanced technology. Or be less susceptible to failure.

        Same when optical drives disappeared (not sure if Apple was the first to do that). The technology was dead. Software was downloaded or loaded from high capacity USB drives. Videos were streamed.

        When optical drives disappeared they allowed for much better battery life because optical drives sucked battery life and they took up space that could be used for battery. Or, devices could get smaller.

        Sealed phones without user replaceable batteries are annoying because it costs more to replace a battery. But, sealed phones can also be water proof which can save phones. So, the cost of losing user replaceable batteries is offset by dust proofing and water proofing. So many phones were destroyed by water or dust that I'm sure the net cost to users as a whole will have been zero.

        There's always drawbacks to dumping an old technologies but there are also benefits.

  2. Daekar

    I'm surprised that Apple is the first one to this switch. My wife and I are on our fifth year of not plugging in our phones on a routine basis... The only time we do is when we travel because I never bothered to find travel - suited Qi chargers. As long as those and some associated battery packs are available, I wouldn't care if every phone lost its charging jack tomorrow. We have done everything without wires for years already.

    • ghostrider

      In reply to Daekar:

      That's great for you, but I'd say 99.9% of mobile phone users would disagree with you.

      • Daekar

        In reply to ghostrider:

        I think that's because 99.9% of users are content with the status quo and "need to be told what they want." We have Bluetooth earphones and wireless charging pads both at home and at work. I have an IPhone in addition to my Galaxy, and I never have to fiddle with switching cables, they all just charge on the same pads. Files are synced through OneDrive, instantly. If I make a change to my mp3 folder on my PC, it's mirrored on my phone. There is literally no reason for me to plug in anything unless we're traveling. I should see if there are any Qi-enabled battery packs... I can guarantee that if there aren't any now, there will be.

        • SvenJ

          In reply to Daekar: The cable switching issue would be easily resolved if Apple would just switch to USB-C. There are plenty of Qi based portable chargers BTW. I even have an old Nokia on from my Windows phone days. You could lay the portable charger on the charge pad, and the phone on top of the portable charger and charge them both. Most these days though, seem to be charged by wire.

          • ghostrider

            In reply to SvenJ:

            Would Apple confirm to the QI charging standard, or go there own way and 'charge' a small fortune for an Apple bespoke device. If this happens, I can see them including a low wattage changer in the box, and then a fast charger as a $200 option. The last thing Apple would want is for any wireless charger to work with their own devices. Either that, or they will use QI, but key the chargers so only Apple QI chargers work with Apple phones. Another cash grab.

            • ontariopundit

              In reply to ghostrider:

              Ghost rider, I've seen your name pop up before. Hmm.

              I have never known Apple to go the bespoke route for the sake of profit like Sony does! Apple comes up with a custom solution if no one else does it right or if it doesn't exist.

              They built their own wifi routers in the early 2000's because consumer grade routers were terrible. Apple's solution in the early 2000's rivaled that of Cisco while Netgear was a cheap crapshoot.

              Or, when they replaced the aging original wide iPhone connector they had to create the lightning connector from scratch because micro USB was not a good experience and USB C was still many many years away.

              There is very little profit to be had from going bespoke. But, what bespoke does offer Apple is control over the experience.

              If Apple could skip USB C and go straight to wireless that would be great for the industry as a whole.

              No more cables. The only reason I ever connect any of my devices to a cable is for charging, mice and keyboards.

              Mice and keyboards can be handled by Bluetooth and charging is now becoming available on a widespread basis.

              As for whether Apple will go its own custom wireless charging route... How good is current wireless charging?

              If it's really good then I doubt they'd come up with their own solution. But, if it's mediocre then they'll have good incentive to invest in a bespoke wireless charging solution.

  3. george_semple

    Of all the potential issues, what about accessories like the Square reader?

  4. RobertJasiek

    SE2 and SE2 Plus? This would be perfect if the SE2 succeeded the SE and the SE2 Plus succeeded the 8.

    "Low-end"? LOL. Apple, does not offer any low end price-wise! Mid range is the proper description.

  5. andreluis77

    What about system restores through iTunes? People will have to go to Apple Stores to accomplish that?

  6. randallcorn

    Apple history. They don't care if it causes problems. That is up to us and third party people to come up with a solution.

    Oh and the wireless charger will be a separate $250 purchase (hope I am just kidding).

    I remember in old OSX early days. Apple eliminated all previous printer drivers. You had to develop new ones. People were upgrading and Lo and Behold! They could not print. Oh what about all the software everyone purchased that because obsolete the day after you bought it because you upgraded to the new OS.

    I will stop now.

  7. alabamaboy

    In a world that should be concerned with climate change, it seems ridiculous to promote wireless charging which is only 60 to 70% efficient as wired charging. I know in the big scheme of things, it's not much, but we should each be doing all we can. This is an easy one.

    • ontariopundit

      In reply to alabamaboy:

      I suspect an order of magnitude more energy is spent building a phone like the iPhone than would be lost charging it (inefficiently) over its functional life.

      Keeping that conjecture in mind consider that the charging port is the most common point of failure on a mobile phone. If eliminating the charging port extends the phone's functional life the energy savings of the phone's longer life will more than offset the deceased charging efficiency.

      Plus, iPhones already are in use for two to three times longer than the average Android do this development may lead the way for Android manufacturers to do the same and reduce the insane environmental footprint that Android phones possess

  8. charms55

    I was saying tongue in cheek that soon Apple would wind up with a phone that has no buttons, speaker or screen.

    Type C ports allow more than charging. I also must have about 6-8 power bricks I often use to top off phones for long stretches where plugins might prove difficult.

    A wireless charging brick would be necessary to be completely sans cable. I am all for getting rid of wires. I do hate the tangled mess, so I get it. But we know Apple rarely does anything to standard. Whatever they do, it will likely be proprietary and expensive.

    And doing this out if the box will add to the already stifling cost of the phone.

    I am perfectly happy with plugging in my Asus Zenfone 6z, which can go 18-24 hours and more between charges.

  9. 02nz

    Wireless charging is still too slow. It's just 7.5W on the iPhone - and a bunch of chargers even lost that capability with a recent iOS update and now charge at 5W instead. With the 18W charger charging is so fast that I no longer have to think about it. Forgot to plug in overnight? Charging for 15-20 minutes before heading out the door is good enough. Would suck to lose that if Apple moves to wireless only (unless they make wireless charging way faster, which I don't think is likely given heat issues). And as someone else pointed out it would make CarPlay unusable in all but the very few cars that have wireless CarPlay. So I hope and think that Kuo is wrong on this one.

  10. chriscarstens

    I travel a lot, and have charged my phone in a lot of odd places, carrying my own 6 foot lightning cable and a charging block. Now, with my iphone 11 pro, I need to carry a somewhat larger charging block, or just wait for the trickle charge to take effect. I'm not looking forward to the special carrying case for my wireless charging brick.

  11. m_p_w_84

    I don’t think this will happen because it will break CarPlay for 98% of people

    otherwise I think it’s a good idea

    • warren

      In reply to m_p_w_84:

      It's also a pretty rubbish situation for speaker docks, which is how a lot of people charge their phones overnight. Wireless charging will make these devices more expensive while providing little to no added value.

      • ontariopundit

        In reply to warren:

        How long do people keep speaker docks? One year? Two years?

        People seem to be shifting to Bluetooth speakers and AI speakers. These devices are not setup for charging phones.

        Besides, when you spend $600 to $1000 USD on one phone I don't thing the cost of a charging station or two is prohibitive.

        Plus, in most households there are more than one iPhone so the relative cost of a highly convenient charger that doesn't require cables will be even lower.

  12. beckoningeagle

    I wonder what will happen with CarPlay. Most car don't work with wireless CarPlay.

  13. Chris_Kez

    This would be unfortunate First, it will be much harder to find a wireless charging option on the go. Second, it forces you to rely exclusively on the cloud or AirDrop for file transfer; perhaps not a big blow to everyone, but if you're used to quickly transferring many large files from iPhone to iPad it will be a step back. For example, shooting 4K Extreme with Filmic Pro on the phone, then moving those clips to an iPad for editing in Lumafusion is fast, easy and reliable with a flash drive; less so with AirDrop. But I guess time moves on?

  14. warren

    Meanwhile, Xaomi is putting out a phone soon with 100 watt charging -- 0 to 100% in 17 minutes, on a 4,000mAh battery.

  15. Rainer Fuchs

    Actually, it makes a lot of sense to me on second thought. Bundle it with a small wireless charger a la Apple Watch, and no need to worry about charging on the road as long as you have access to a USB port or a power outlet. And the concerns mentioned about bricked phones? True but in Apple fashion why not give just you a new phone (at least as a loaner). Customer satisfaction guaranteed.

  16. red.radar

    the sad thing is that as soon as apple does it... others will follow

  17. CaedenV

    The only good jack is a headphone jack /s

    • CaedenV

      In reply to CaedenV:

      Seriously though. I can't wait for phones to literally be slabs of screen and plastic back. No ports, no physical buttons, no front facing camera notch silliness. Just all screen on front, and on back a fingerprint reader and camera, and the biggest battery known to mankind inside.

      ... provided the battery can last a solid 5-10 years before it goes bad.

      Only down side with wireless charging is when you need it to charge while using it. I can remember more than a few times with my good 'ol Lumia 920 where I was holding the wireless charger to the back of the phone while trying to use it... not much fun lol

  18. hellcatm

    So now apple users are going to have to buy an expensive wireless charger for every room and car they own. Can you say greedy money grab?

  19. snowdragon

    I have the iPhone X, I put a cool metal protector case on it. Now I can’t use my wireless charger, now I have to use my plugin to charge at night. If Apple goes totally wireless on their new phones, people are going to be totally screwed if they have a setup like mine.

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