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Summary:

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 […]

wildcharge_iphone

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.

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  1. Agree with the “proprietary devices” 100%.

    The U in USB is slowly being swapped out, form Universal to Unique. Case in point, my girlfriend has this little Vivitar digital camera, and she lost her USB cord. I’ll be damned if I can find a standard cable to replace it.

    What is the point of USB is everyone is allowed to make non-Universal versions of it?

    As for the induction part of this, I’d guess the reason for the lack of iPhone support at the moment is the RF interference from the induction pad. Wouldn’t that cause signal issues, if not harm, to the cell antenna in the phone?

  2. Preston Taylor Wednesday, June 24, 2009

    This is neato bandito!! However, not sure I want to walk around with that little nubby at the end of my iphone. I hope that all phone manufacturers move towards this type of charging, not only for aesthetics but for easy charging. Who else hates plugging in their devices at night….”I do!” I would much rather toss my phone onto a charging mat, hell – all of my devices for that matter.

    iPhone, Flip, iPod, wife’s cell phone….(in the future – my hearing aids, LOL)

    PEACE!!

    Preston Taylor
    @prestontaylor
    WhatILikeOnTheWeb Dot Com

  3. Peter Hofmann Wednesday, June 24, 2009

    Apple has patented something like it: http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2007/02/7067.ars

  4. Wireless charging is the future. Of note is Powermat and the design awards won at NeoCon 2009 in Chicago. NeoCon is a trade show for architects, interior designers etc. Imagine a wireless charging device on your Kitchen counter. Or how about a wireless charging service in a small alcove by your front door with a place for your keys. Now imagine a space on the wall in your family room where you charge your universal remote and your phone. Or how about every work office having a surface built into its walls or every cubicle with such a surface on the desktop.

    It is coming. The question is which company will get there “firstest with the mostest.” In my opinon.

  5. It could be annoying if you missed and it wasn’t sitting on the charge pad (for some reason my first thought after “Cool!” was, “what if I put it by my bed so I can just toss the phone down before I go to sleep, and miss the pad?”).

    This tech looks phenomenal, but the charge pad needs to be bigger. Like, I need to be able to use it as the surface of my entire desk, so that anything that sits on top of it gets charged. How cool would THAT be?

  6. Anything that can make my iPhone more user-friendly is good enough for me :-)

  7. What’s Hot on GigaOM Thursday, June 25, 2009

    [...] Wild Charge Helps iPhone Steal a Trick from Pre With Wireless Charging- TheAppleBlog [...]

  8. It doesn’t look like there’s a pass-thru, so I’d have to remove the charging skin to sync my Touch. I’m wondering if syncing less regularly would create more problems than this would fix. Hmm….

  9. I’m not impressed; first, I don’t want to see metal contact points on the back of my phone casing; nor do I want to alter the size, look and feel of my iphone. Why are they saying this is a “skin” when it is not a skin it’s an adapter that I have to plug in like I use to have to do to get bluetooth on my iphone?

    Worse thing about this is that they want me to puchase it without even SHOWING me what it looks like on the back of my iphone and instead, they show me this future technology at work on a Motorola Razr V3??? I have an iphone 3GS… HUH?!?! You’re going to demo your product to iphone users on a phone that was released in 2005 – why?

    What are they hiding about this technology that will make me realize how useless it ends up being for me; if 80% of the time my iphone is being charged while it’s connected to my MAC while I’m downloading content, then how does this effect that? Now I have to have this freakin’ giant, metal pad next to my work area so it can charge my phone wirelessly?

    I have no intention on messing up the aesthetics of my iphone or my work area for wireless technology that in the end still requires me to get the METAL contact points onto a METAL surface – I saw the Pre and it appears to handle this way better than WildCharge does! And while WildCharge is saying that their process charges faster (right now) when you eliminate the metal to metal contact points as they hope to do when manufacturers build this into the phone, then the charging process will be DRAMATICALLY SLOWER than they’re telling us.

    No thank you WildCharge

  10. Mel Chandler Friday, June 26, 2009

    I wonder how long it’ll be before the cellular signal from the tower has a microwave piggy backed on it to recharge your cellphone, or the signal itself recharges your phone.

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