The next iPhone may not have reverse wireless charging for your AirPods after all

Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

With less than 24 hours remaining until Apple reveals the iPhone 11 — or whatever they might be named — the most trusted source of Apple rumors is backing away from his prediction that they’ll include reverse wireless charging that would let you use your phone to top up your wirelessly charging AirPods case.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo isn’t saying quite yet that the feature has been definitively axed — but that it may have been ditched because the “charging efficiency may not meet Apple’s requirements,” according to 9to5Mac.

If so, it wouldn’t be the first time in recent memory that Apple’s had trouble bringing wireless charging up to its standards; Apple got a rare black eye this spring when it abruptly canceled its publicly announced AirPower charging pad after multiple delays. That’s in spite of Apple’s top competitors Samsung and Huawei both including the feature in flagship phones.

Did the feature die alongside AirPower, or more recently?

Charging efficiency is important, though; if users expect to be able to tap two Apple devices together and have them charge each other by a meaningful amount in a meaningfully short period of time, that efficiency needs to be high — and that’s not always a given when we’re talking about beaming power through the air using inductive coils.

Generally, wireless charging has lagged pretty far behind wired charging in speed, which is why the other thing Kuo is now predicting makes a lot of sense: the two high-end iPhones will reportedly now ship with an 18W USB-C fast charger (and presumably a USB-C to Lightning cable) in the box, instead of the slow 5W charger that Apple’s been previously ridiculed for. He says the inexpensive iPhone XR’s successor will still include that slow charger, though.

It’s worth noting that Kuo isn’t the only one to predict the new iPhones would come with reverse wireless charging, and so he’s not the only one who may end up wrong: as we previously wrote, both Bloomberg and Japanese blog Macotakara predicted the same thing. Apple may be a powerful company, but it can’t necessarily remove a hardware-dependent feature from a phone the day before it gets announced; that decision probably happened months ago, and it may show how long it takes these rumors to make their way to us.

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