Apple Finally Goes Wireless

wireless  chargerEver since the iMac was introduced, and through the ten year life (so far) of the iPhone, people have largely looked upon Apple as innovators.

People were shocked, for instance, when Apple removed the floppy drive from the iMac, thinking it was a bad move.  But people pretty much didn’t notice, and it wasn’t long before no one was including floppy drives in their computers anymore.

Apple then took the then-fairly-new smartphone and redeveloped it into the iPhone, and sold them by the millions.   People eagerly awaited the introduction of new models each year to see what sort of cutting-edge features that Apple was going to introduce.

But since the death of Steve Jobs in 2011, Apple hasn’t really been leading so much anymore.  The iOS shares the market with the Android operating system, and companies such as Samsung are often coming up with new and interesting features before Apple does.

iPhone XThat’s sort of what happened this week when Apple announced their two new versions of the iPhone – the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X.  (No one is yet asking what happened to iPhone 9.  Perhaps you could ask someone about Windows 9 while you’re at it.)

There are numerous new features in iPhones 8 and X (pronounced “ten”) but the one that everyone is going to like is the fact that they can both be charged wirelessly.  By making use of the Qi (pronounced “chee”) wireless standard, Apple now lets you get rid of charging cords, though you will, of course, still need a charging device.

Apple is hoping that a lot of public places, such as coffee shops, will have Qi charging stations available, so that people will be able to charge their phones while they are out and about.

That’s nice, and it’s great to see that Apple has eliminated a cord, rather than doing what they usually do – changing one.  The thing is, this isn’t a cutting-edge feature.  In the case of wireless charging, Apple is following, rather than leading.

Following?  Nokia introduced a smartphone that could charge this way in 2012, and Wikipedia says that there were more than 140 different Qi-chargeable phones on the market more than a year ago.

That article also says that more than 70% of the public was aware of wireless charging as a technology.  Well, they had to learn about it somewhere.  Where they didn’t learn about it was through their iPhone, because until now (and not even yet, as the two new iPhones aren’t yet on the market) you haven’t been able to use this technology with your iPhone.

There’s a lot of excitement about these two new phones, particularly the iPhone X, which has a bigger screen and built-in facial recognition software.  The X also comes with a thousand dollar price tag, so it’s going to be interesting to see how well it sells.

Given Apple’s history of sales of newly introduced phones, they’ll probably do just fine.  But it’s hard to get excited about paying $1000 for a phone that has “new” features that include technology that has been available in competing products for more than five years.