Updated from 12:02 p.m. with additional information.
Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report new range of next generation iPhones will support wireless charging technology, following in the footsteps of other smartphone vendors, including Samsung (SSNLF) .
As part of its big September event on Tuesday, the company launched three new iPhones -- the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and the 10th anniversary iPhone X. The iPhone 8 starts at $699, while the 8 Plus sells for $799. The iPhone X, as it was rumored previously, will sell for $999. Pre-orders begin Oct. 27 and the devices ship by Nov. 3.
All three devices are equipped with wireless charging technology and will be able to use a charging mat called AirPower, which can charge the iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods all at once. The AirPower charging mat won't be available until 2018, however.
The phones' wireless charging technology works by having users place their device on a magnetic surface, which then uses an electromagnetic field to supply power to the phone, called inductive, or near-field charging. Consumers will also be able to buy third-party charging pads that use the Qi wireless standard to charge up the next generation models.
Prior to the event, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who's gotten many scoops about Apple's plans in the past, said the company's wireless charging pad -- a key accessory would be unlikely to ship alongside the phones because it hasn't met the company's standard, according to Apple news website 9to5Mac reports.
Apple first hinted that it was exploring wireless charging when it joined the Wireless Power Consortium in February. The WPC is a group of 213 companies that promote the Qi wireless standard, guaranteeing that any device with the Qi logo will work with any charging surface that carries the same logo. Apple has also filed several patent applications over the years related to wireless charging technology, including one that proposes a system that would use radio signals to enable wireless charging.
Apple is hardly the first tech giant to explore wireless charging. Samsung has featured wireless charging for its flagship smartphones for several years now, as do some LG and Moto phones. Samsung also sells a Fast Wireless Charger that claims to be able to charge Galaxy phones and other mobile devices up to 1.4x faster than traditional wireless charging transmitters.
Samsung is widely viewed as setting a precedent for wireless charging in the mobile phone market, according to research firm IHS Markit. Wireless charging also seems to be close to achieving mainstream adoption, the firm noted, as a survey of consumers showed that one in four people have used wireless charging. Of those people, more than 98% want wireless charging on their next phone, IHS said.
Currently, Apple only offers wireless charging for the Apple Watch, although some iPhone owners can use third-party charging cases such as the Mophie case to charge wirelessly. Apple's latest announcements represent the company's biggest endorsement of the technology thus far.
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