Apple iPhones don’t support wireless charging unless you want to put a somewhat bulky case on them. That, of course, takes away from the thinness of the iPhone. But what if you could add wireless charging without the bulk? That’s the premise behind iQi — pronounced “i-chee” — a funded Indiegogo project that plans to deliver a skinny solution next month.
The iQi is a receiver for wireless energy and, as the name implies, is compatible with the Qi wireless power standard. The thickest part of the accessory is 1.4 millimeters; it’s the lightning port. The rest of the iQi, however, is just 0.5 millimeters thick. Most wireless chargers use a coiled wire inside, so the iQi must use very thin wire to keep its profile low.
To use the iQi, you plug it in to the lightning port of an iPhone 5, 5c, 5s or fifth-generation iPod touch and flip the rest of the accessory behind your device. From there, you’ll need a thin cover of your choice — although the iQi folks will sell you one — to keep it in place. So you’ll still need a case but you get to pick it and it will likely be far less bulky than standard wireless charging cases.
The iQi project still has a good week to go so if you want in on early-bird pricing, you can do so for as little as $25. The iQi charger is expected to retail for $35, so you can save a few bucks now. The company is also selling Qi-charging pucks if you need one.
I’ve been using a dual-device Qi charging pad for some Android devices for the past few months and have come to appreciate the convenience. It’s the type of technology that sounds mundane and useless but I’d actually miss it now that I’m used to it; it’s a no-brainer to drop my iPhone 5s on the nightstand charging pad before bed with no fuss.
I have an iQi review unit on the way, so stay tuned for a video look next week to see how it works.