Starbucks’ Wireless Chargers to Offer Support for New iPhone Devices
A few days after Apple officially introduced three new iPhone devices (namely the iPhone X, the iPhone 8, and the iPhone 8 Plus), it was reported recently that those wireless chargers at Starbucks outlets will be having support for the latest models. This was first reported by SlashGear, who was told by Itay Sherman, the chief technical officer of Powermat (which provides the chargers at Starbucks locations), that the charging pads will be compatible with the newest iPhones.
It should be noted that Powermat’s charging pads support the PMA wireless charging standard, while the new iPhone devices are compatible with the Qi standard. So how does Powermat work around this? As explained by Sherman, parts of the Powermat charging pads were built to be as generic as possible, in order to offer some flexibility with regards to all existing wireless charging standards. And because these components are connected to Powermat’s backend, their software can be upgraded by remote means. In the case of the charging pads being used by Starbucks outlets, it so happens that they can be updated in order to become compatible with the Qi wireless charging standard, without needing to undergo a massive overhaul in terms of hardware.
But wait -- if this was not a problem after all, why was it not done before? According to Sherman, most smartphones that were released recently that come with support for wireless charging are usually compatible with both the PMA and Qi standards. But given that Apple’s iPhone X and iPhone 8 devices only support the latter standard, updating the charging pads at Starbucks locations made perfect sense. Of course, because there are more than 11,000 Starbucks outlets in the United States, updating every charging pad at those locations will indeed take some time.
For so long, Apple has not welcomed the idea of wireless charging for its iPhone devices, despite the fact that a few of today’s biggest mobile manufacturers have already embraced the technology for some time now. Take Samsung, for instance -- its recent high end Galaxy device releases typically come with support for wireless charging.
As for the concept of wireless charging itself, it may have gotten a significant boost with Apple’s decision to bring wireless charging capabilities to its newest iPhone models. While the idea is not new, there is really only a handful of devices that are capable of wireless charging, namely LG’s Nexus 5, a number of Lumia handsets, and of course, Samsung’s flagship phones. But now that Apple has joined in on the party, wireless charging could become more mainstream, or at least enjoy wider usage among consumers.