Apple is reportedly working with technology and manufacturing partners in the US and Asia in develop wireless charging that could be used within its mobile devices as soon as next year.
According to Bloomberg, who cited people familiar with the plans, Apple is exploring options that would enable iPhones and iPads to be charged wirelessly at distances greater than those currently manageable with devices like charging mats.
In order to do so, the company has to overcome a variety of technical barriers, including the loss of power over distance and how the new technology would be integrated into future iPhone and iPad models. Currently, the decision on whether or not to implement the technology is still being assessed.
Apple has experienced trouble recently with its conventional wired chargers, having had to issue a massive recall of older two-pronged models sold between 2003 and 2015 after multiple incidents of them breaking and causing electric shocks. The plugs, which were sold as part of hte Apple World Travel Adapter kit, are used in continental Europe, South America, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea.
Wireless charging is still a developing technology, but Samsung, Sony and Google have all released smartphones that can be powered using a charging plate, while other companies are working on more universal solutions that require small peripherals.
Apple’s experiments with wireless charging in the past have included using iMac personal computers as a hub for charging devices using a method called near-field magnetic resonance, and induction-based charging for its Apple Watch, that requires the wearable to be within millimeters of the power source.