The Apple Watch Series 6 is officially out, with new features such as a blood oxygen sensor and a stunning display in the latest entry of Apple’s smartwatch lineup. But the company has once again insisted on a long overdue for the Apple Watch: support for the universal Qi wireless charging standard.
This is an incredibly disappointing limitation to the product, one that ensures that you can only use Apple’s charger to recharge the device. More importantly, it means that you cannot use a standard wireless charging pad, despite the fact that Qi is almost universally used in the tech industry. Till here Apple Uses Qi charging for its iPhones and AirPods.
Not just the Apple Watch.
Since the original Apple Watch was released in 2015, Apple has used one type of charger: a proprietary magnetic charging puck. And while the company allows third-party companies to develop their own versions of Apple’s charger and integrate them into their own products (while paying license fees, of course, for Apple’s iPhone program), today The Apple Watch cables have been virtually unchanged since they were released five years ago.
The only real change: Apart from a USB-C version in the lineup in 2018, although it’s still not the cable that Apple included in the box, every single Apple laptop supports the port standard for almost all I / O options, regardless .
The insistence on sticking to your proprietary charger only gets worse when one considers Apple’s own environmental message. Apple proudly announced at its event that it would no longer remove USB wall plugs in the Apple Watch box (even its Luxury Edition and Hermès models) out of concern over its environmental impact. It is rumored to be the same on this year’s iPhone model.
But if Apple is concerned about the environment, it should also consider the millions of proprietary cables for those products. Apple used exclusively MagSafe chargers and Lightning cables throughout its product line, which cannot be used with anything else. But even this has begun to change: MacBooks and most iPads now use USB-C; iPhones and AirPods (while still stuck on Lightning) provide standard Qi wireless charging. In theory, it is possible to use a full portfolio of Apple devices, without touching the Apple charging standard – except for the Apple Watch.
There are difficulties in changing the new standard. Apple historically dislikes the change and enjoys control over the external devices. There are engineering challenges with creating magnetic charging discs that provide ease of use of current, supporting Qi pads.
And of course, there’s speed there: Millions of people already own the Apple Watch charger, which Apple introduced years ago began to adopt the Qi standard, and changing to a new charging standard would mean either back A way to ensure compatibility with or omit them. outside.
But none of this is an impossible problem. Apple has replaced the Chargers in such a way that when it switched from its 30-pin connector to Lightning the compatibility with the products years ago was completely broken. And customers, somehow, managed to adapt. Switching the Apple Watch charger can be even easier, given that there is a smaller accessory ecosystem built around the Apple Watch than the iPod / 30-pin connector.
And yes, there is no doubt that engineering issues – especially the number of sensors on the back of the Apple Watch – are increasing – they are not insurmountable.
Apple already uses an inductive charging system that is much less technically similar to Qi. (As I fixed itIn 2015, it was claimed that Apple cleverly used a copper disk around other sensors for the receiver and to intercept the magnet from the sensor.) John Perzo, vice president of market development at the Wireless Power Consortium in 2015 It was claimed that Apple is already using it. Modified version of the regular Qi standard for its charging. The Apple Watch Series 3 was also reported to work with some Qi pads at one time, though that no longer seems to be the case. Between Apple’s work already done and the company’s engineering, it does not seem an impossible task.
But Apple’s insistence on its own standards is becoming increasingly unstable, especially as USB-C has begun integrating charging for hardware across almost all product segments. Apple itself has had to contend with these warring standards, with Apple Watch’s inability to integrate one of the biggest issues with its canceled AirPower charger. Even now, most wireless chargers have been forced to choose between a lack of any Apple Watch support or to find a strange way to hook up to a separate Apple charging pad.
But at some point, Apple needs to rip off the strip and switch to a proper universal standard. And the longer it waits to do it, the harder it is to transition.