You'll Need Ikea's $5 Saw If You Buy That $1000 iPhone X

Apple's new phones include Qi wireless charging technology, and Ikea already has a line of products that support it

1 min read
Ikea sells tools that allow you to integrate wireless charging capability with existing furniture
Ikea sells tools that allow you to integrate wireless charging capability with existing furniture
Photo: Ikea

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).

iPhone X charges wirelessly, and it's water resistant too.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.

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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford

Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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