Editors' pick: Originally published Feb. 14.
The tech giant joined the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) late last week, a spokesperson for the organization confirmed. The WPC is a group of 213 companies that promotes the Qi standard of wireless charging, which guarantees that any device with the Qi logo will work with any charging surface that carries the same logo.
"As we have seen in the past year, Qi has become the de facto standard for wireless power, and this year we expect to see even more momentum by the entire ecosystem," the organization said in a statement, adding that the companies with the largest market share in mobile phones have all become members of the WPC.
In addition to Apple, the WPC counts Samsung (SSNLF) , Sony (SNE - Get Report) and Qualcomm (QCOM - Get Report) as members, among others. Some Samsung and Sony phones, as well as several Nexus phones made by Alphabet's (GOOGL - Get Report) Google unit, already have Qi wireless charging technology built in to them
The Apple Watch has wireless charging capabilities, but isn't interoperable with Qi charging devices. And with the iPhone 7 and 7-Plus release last year, Apple got rid of the standard headphone jack and introduced wireless headphones called AirPods.
Members of the WPC contribute ideas, technology and resources to develop technical specifications for wireless charging, the WPC spokesperson said.
"Some members participate to simply get access to these specifications," the spokesperson added.
Speculation has been building that Apple may integrate wireless charging technology into its next flagship smartphone, the iPhone 8, likely due out in September. So far, Apple has declined to confirm whether the company would enable wireless charging in the iPhone 8 and CEO Tim Cook rarely discloses the new technologies Apple may be exploring ahead of time.
Representatives from Apple weren't immediately available for comment, but Apple told USA Today in a statement that the company is a part of many standards development organizations and joined the WPC to participate in the "development of future wireless charging standards."
Several analysts have penned their own theories that illustrate why Apple might choose to cut the lightning cable out. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently noted that wireless charging can make smartphones overheat, so Apple will include additional components to make sure that doesn't happen.
Kuo added that Apple will most likely incorporate wireless charging into all three iPhone 8 models that are expected to launch later this year, including the 4.7-inch, 5.1-inch and 5.5-inch versions.
Apple has also filed several patent applications over the years related to wireless charging technology.