Updated from 9:07 a.m. to include additional analyst comments in the eighteenth paragraph.
Most likely not, say experts.
"This is one of those convenience features that can make a difference for owners once they have it, but I'm not convinced it's a big driver of new sales or switching from other platforms," Jan Dawson Jackdaw Research Chief Analyst said, when reached by email.
Several reports in recent months have suggested that Apple is working on -- or at least exploring the potential of -- having wireless charging on an upcoming iPhone. In January, Bloomberg reported Apple could bring wireless charging to the iPhone as soon as 2017.
In addition, Apple has filed several patents for wireless charging, the most recent coming in November, according to Patently Apple, a website that tracks Apple patents. The latest patent would allow for automatic alignment between a power-transmitting inductor (the charger) and a power-receiving inductor (the phone), so that no power is lost during transfer.
Current wireless charging stations do not have this, making them at best, inefficient.
Patently Apple noted that five patents have been filed related to wireless charging since September, with several others having been filed before then.
Currently, there are some phones that have wireless charging, including several from Samsung (SSNLF) . Samsung has a wireless charging pad, which uses Qi Inductive Charging Technology, a different charging standard from what Apple uses. Phones like the Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge and others also work with the Qi-centric wireless charging pad.
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There are several wireless charging stations available at Starbucks (SBUX) - Get Report, which use AirFuel-based charging pads in some of its stores -- again, another standard Apple doesn't currently support.
Part of the issue is that although the phones don't need a traditional cord and plug to be charged, they do need to be next to or near a charging mat, which eliminates some of the flexibility associated with wireless charging.
"Wireless charging does remove some of the pain points of charging a smartphone, but I don't think people would buy an iPhone just for that feature," said Tim Bajarin President, Creative Strategies, via email.
Apple may also be working on a new kind of wireless charging, one that's entirely different than the ones related to its patents or the traditional mat-based chargers.
According to a report in Business Insider, a company known as Energous (WATT) - Get Report , which has a system that allows devices to charge up to 15 feet away using a wireless transmitter, could be working with Apple. The company, which is still in the developmental phase, has previously said it's signed a deal with a top consumer electronics company.
Energous' CEO Stephen Rizzone noted the company's partner has "an element of secrecy to them," with the relationship between Energous and its partner "shrouded in secrecy," as discussed on the company's fourth quarter earnings call.
Rizzone further went into detail about the full-size transmitter, which has some thinking it would be geared towards a phone. "And then the full size, that provides the full level of functionality and multiple receiving capability, this is the technology that we see being integrated into the large standalone units," Rizzone stated.
Further evidence seems to back up the Energous-Apple relationship.
In a February 4 research note obtained by TheStreet, Disruptive Tech Research analyst Louis Basenese highlighted several potential reasons the companies are working together, including that "of all the RF-based approaches, WATT is the most commercially advanced." Basenese also noted the potential timeline matches up with what Energous has said in the past about its tech being in products, "at the end of 2016 or early 2017."
Even if wireless charging isn't enough to get people to switch to iPhones, it could induce people to upgrade, which would be a welcome sign to Apple. "iPhones are bought for their overall quality and ecosystem and wireless charging would be one of those upgrade features that iPhone users love when getting new versions," Bajarin said.
For the December quarter, Apple shipped 74.8 million iPhones, representing an increase of approximately 300,000 units year-over-year, a growth rate of 0.2%. That growth rate was be the lowest since the iPhone was introduced nearly nine years, in June 2007.