The Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) has announced Qi2, a new wireless charging standard for smartphones and wearables that’s built on Apple’s MagSafe charging technology.
The consortium is attempting to cut e-waste, reduce wireless charging power loss, and address confusion among consumers about what is a certified wireless charging accessory.
Apple’s MagSafe technology is the foundation of the new Qi2 standard. Apple is a member of WPC. Alongside other members, the tech giant has developed a new Magnetic Power Profile that is it at the “core” of Qi2, the second generation standard of Qi, according to WPC.
The new magnetic profile aims to improve energy efficiency and enable faster charging, providing “one global standard” for mobile devices and wearables.
Notably, Qi2 comes as Apple prepares to ship new iPhones to the European Union (EU) in compliance with its USB-C port requirement. Apple officials have said the company will reluctantly comply with the EU mandate, which was passed in October and also aims to address wireless charging.
The European Commission introduced the USB-C requirement in a bid to reduce e-waste. A common USB-C charger will be required for all phones and other smaller devices sold in the EU from October 2024.
Apple has not said which iPhone model will come with a USB-C charging port, nor whether it will change the phone’s design globally or just for Europe, but it generally releases new iPhones in September. Apple officials have said they agree with the EU’s environmental goals but disagree with stiff regulation: Apple could also release an iPhone without a charging port.
Apple introduced its MagSafe for iPhone technology with the iPhone 12 in 2020. The new MagSafe charger doesn’t rely on a proprietary cable, so numerous official and third-party accessories have emerged that support the iPhone’s MagSafe. Apple has also brought MagSafe to the charging case for the third-generation AirPods and the AirPods Pro.
Qi2 Certified mobile phones and chargers should be available in about a year from now, according to WPC.
The new wireless standard will also address confusion about Qi Certified chargers.
“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 WPC in a statement.
“Our standard assures consumers that their devices are safe, efficient, and interoperable with other brands. Qi2 will be the global standard for wireless charging and provide consumers and retailers with that assurance.”
WPC claims the new standard will enable wireless charging for new accessories that wouldn’t be chargeable using the existing flat surface-to-flat surface devices. It also claims it will enable faster charging for some devices and will reduce e-waste.
“Qi2’s perfect alignment improves energy efficiency by reducing the energy loss that can happen when the phone or the charger is not aligned. Just as important, Qi2 will greatly reduce the landfill waste associated with wired charger replacement due to plugs breaking and the stress placed on cords from daily connecting and disconnecting,” said Struhsaker.