It may have come a little late, and it may not have come via a first-party solution, but the iPhone is now able to emulate one of the Palm Pre’s neatest tricks: wireless charging. I assume I’m not the only one who enviously ogled the Pre when the Touchstone was first revealed, which uses inductive coupling to charge the phone when a special back attachment is affixed.
The iPhone version similarly requires two components: a charging pad and a case for your iPhone that allows the magic to happen. The combo is made and sold by WildCharge, and it uses a fairly low-profile gel skin inductor that should add no more girth to your device than most form-fitting iPhone cases. The difference in the WildCharge case is a protrusion at the base, where the charging element is located that plugs into your iPhone’s dock connector.
The price for getting your Pre-wielding friends to shut up? $80, give or take. The device isn’t yet available for the iPhone (it’s coming in early July), but an iPod touch version can be purchased now via the WildCharge web site. I’m intrigued, but I think I’ll wait for some hands-on testimonial from disinterested third parties before I go spending any cash.
Don’t get me wrong, I hate wires and cables as much as the next guy, but I’m wondering if this wireless charging business is going anywhere useful or if it’ll just become another vast series of proprietary devices we have hanging out of our electrical sockets. It sure seems to be headed that way. Hopefully some kind of industry standard emerges. Call me a cynic, but I find it unlikely in a world of dock connectors, Mini DisplayPorts, and thousands of single-use USB cables.