Yesterday’s details of the Apple iPhone 8’s switch to forged steel for the chassis (covered by Forbes’ Gordon Kelly) offers Apple’s flagship smartphone a number of advantages, including the increased strength that comes from the forging process.
There’s also an interesting benefit by omission that will allow Apple to exploit one of the useful new technologies that is still not present in the iPhone design.
Apple’s move to using an all-glass construction for the presumptively titled iPhone 8 requires toughened glass for the front and rear panels, sandwiching a strong central chassis of the forged steel. The switch away from a full metal backing plate to one made of glass will not only give the new iPhone a stylish look, it will also allow wireless charging to be seriously considered.
Although there are a number of standards around wireless charging (and it will be interesting to see if Apple would choose one of the common methods such as qi, or work on its own format) the physical principles are the same. Current is passed through a coil of wires in the charging base and through electromagnetic induction a current will be created in any coil of wire close enough to the charging base. That current can then be used to charge a battery (you can read more on how wireless charging works here on Forbes).
Metal back plates inhibit electromagnetic induction. Glass backs do not. While it is not a massive tell that Apple will include wireless charging in the next iPhone, it offers the opportunity to do so. It also ties in with previous rumors and leaks around the inclusion of wireless charging in the handset that is expected to be revealed in September.
Wireless charging is one answer to the constant issue of low battery life. Another option is to use ‘quick charge’ circuitry so that a battery can receive a significant level of charge in a much shorter period of time than is normally expected. Apple is rumored to be working on quick charge as well. Given the choice I personally would prefer wireless charging over fast charging, but if we’re all very lucky and wish very hard, maybe we’ll get both?