In an uncharacteristic move, Apple is working with the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) on a next-generation charging standard called “Qi2” that’s based on MagSafe.
At CES 2023, the WPC confirmed the news, stating that the new standard aims to improve the efficiency and interoperability of the technology through a MagSafe-based “Magnetic Power Profile” that aligns the Qi2-compatible accessory with a compatible wireless charger.
If this sounds a lot like Apple’s current magnetic MagSafe technology, you aren’t wrong.
Apple’s current version of MagSafe is proprietary and requires accessory makers to pay a fee to use the standard. This is why so many iPhone accessories and smartphone cases are compatible with MagSafe but are not officially MagSafe-certified.
“Consumers and retailers have been telling us they’re confused concerning what devices are Qi Certified and those that claim to work with Qi but are not Qi Certified. This confusion can lead to a poor user experience and even safety issues,” said Paul Struhsaker, executive director of the Wireless Power Consortium, in a press release.
Beyond opening up MagSafe tech to other manufacturers, including Android device makers, it’s unclear what advantages Qi2 will offer over Qi and MagSafe. Hopefully, the plans include stronger magnets because many MagSafe accessories don’t attach to the back of the iPhone firmly, along with faster charging speeds. For example, MagSafe and Qi only support up to 15W wireless charging.
It’s also important to note that Apple isn’t forging this partnership solely to share its technology with Android manufacturers and level the playing field. With the EU’s smartphone USB-C mandate looming, the tech giant is likely looking to avoid similar controversy with its wireless charging standard.
The WPC says its upcoming Qi2 standard will replace its current Qi technology. Devices featuring Qi2 are expected to release by the end of the year.
You can find all of our coverage from CES 2023 here.