How Apple and Magnets will improve future Android phones

Among the many robots, televisions, electric vehicles and This hair printer At CES it was a quiet announcement about The next generation of wireless charging for phones and other devices with rechargeable batteries. Qi2 (pronounced “chee two”) is the follow-up to Qi wireless charging found in phones like the iPhone 14, Samsung Galaxy S22, and Google Pixel 7.

The next version of Qi promises to be more efficient in part because of the magnets that help position devices in perfect alignment on the charging pads. If this sounds familiar, that’s because Apple’s MagSafe charging, which introduced with the iPhone 12 in 2020, basically does. In fact, Apple, one of more than 350 companies that make up the Wireless Power Consortium, helped design the magnetic power profile that’s part of Qi2.

Although the magnetic energy profile doesn’t quite match MagSafe’s, it could lead to Qi2 being adopted by more devices, including AR or VR headsets. It can also lead to faster charging speeds. Currently, Qi wireless charging is capped at 15W, which also happens to be The maximum speed of Apple MagSafe charging on iPhones.

iPhone 12 and 12 Pro accessories and MagSafe

Apple’s MagSafe uses Qi wireless charging but the magnet allows for a variety of attachments.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Paul Strohsaker, CEO of the Wireless Power Consortium, said: Press release. “Equally important, Qi2 will significantly reduce the landfill waste associated with wired charger replacement due to broken plugs and the stress placed on cords from everyday plugging and unplugging.”

Another advantage of Qi2 is the possibility of accessories. Take a look at a number MagSafe and magnetic accessories currently made for the iPhone. There’s everything from cases and charging stands to tripod mounts and wallets. Qi2-enabled Android phones can benefit from a similar set of accessories.

Given that Android phones come in all shapes and sizes, Qi2 and its magnetic energy profile could be a equalizer that makes certain accessories interchangeable between different phones and even different devices. Qi2 provides a level of ubiquity similar to that provided by USB-C connectors, without the confusion caused by different types of USB-C cables that all look the same. It’s hard to tell the difference between a USB-C cable that supports Thunderbolt 3 and one that supports USB 4.

The Qi2’s magnetic energy profile differs from MagSafe’s, which also uses magnets but is arranged in a different position. So you can’t attach a MagSafe charger to a Qi2-enabled phone. I must admit that some Companies make magnetic cases for Android phones that allow them to work with MagSafe.

MagSafe also contains a microprocessor, which Qi2’s magnetic energy profile lacks, that allows the iPhone to know what it’s in contact with. For example, if you remove Apple’s MagSafe wallet from your iPhone, it will mark the location where it was last attached and can even send you a notification that it was detached from the phone. I imagine Android phone makers could add their own microprocessor to the Qi2 for similar functionality.

with the The European Union forces Apple to change future iPhone models From Lightning to USB-C wired charging, Qi2 can also provide Apple A roadmap to a portless iPhone which was rumored several years ago. And since Qi2 is a standard, it could help Apple avoid any potential EU action on wireless charging.

Overall, Qi2 holds a lot of promise. And while it’s not clear if Apple will replace MagSafe with the Qi2 magnetic coil for power, it proves that even competing companies can agree on a standard that benefits all of us. Do this now for text messages.

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