Today, Apple announced its new iPhones—the iPhone 8, 8 plus, and the US $1000 iPhone X. And all feature wireless charging using the Qi standard. The company expects to start selling its own wireless charging mat next year. In the meantime, it pointed customers to third party charging mats, like this one from Belkin, which sells for $40. (You can find mats for as little as $12 or so).
The new iPhone X charges wirelessly, and it’s water resistant too. Photo: Apple
But a mat? Boring. Instead, I took a look at the Ikea catalog, recalling that a couple of years ago, Ikea bet on the Qi wireless charging standard when it designed a line of products with built-in charging capabilities. These include a $60 nightstand, a $70 desk lamp, and an $80 table lamp. The company also makes a DIY kit, including a $5 saw that attaches to a drill and makes holes in any piece of wood or particle board furniture so that it will precisely fit the company’s $30 charger.
Where there are winners, of course, there are losers. A few years ago, Starbucks did a modest roll out of wireless charging using the Powermat standard. Starbucks’ Powermat charging tables won’t be charging the new iPhones. And Energous, maker of Watt-Up wireless charging, saw its stock plunge today after Apple’s announcement.
Tekla S. Perry is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., she's been covering the people, companies, and technology that make Silicon Valley a special place for more than 30 years. An IEEE member, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Michigan State University.