Should Apple have included wireless charging in the iPhone 5? [Poll]

One of the many things we didn't get at Apple's big iPhone 5 event was wireless charging. Palm has inductive charging all the way back to 2009 and the original Palm Pre and TouchStone. Samsung incorporated resonance charging into the new Galaxy S III, and Nokia showed off wireless charging with the upcoming Lumia 920. Apple, however, is sticking to wired and the new Lightning.

Apple SVP of Marketing, Phil Schiller, recently said:

[Wireless] charging systems still have to be plugged into the wall, so it’s not clear how much convenience they add. The widely-adopted USB cord, meanwhile, can charge in wall outlets, computers and even on airplanes. Having to create another device you have to plug into the wall is actually, for most situations, more complicated.

But what do you think? Did Apple lose a step by not including wireless charging? If so, is it a big enough problem to be a deal-breaker to you or just one more minor annoyance? Do you think Apple is still waiting but will introduce wireless charging one day? Could you care less? Or are you happy Apple is sticking to traditional, albeit smaller, hardline power solutions?

You know the drill! Vote up top and leave me a comment below saying why you voted the way you did!

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!


Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

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Reader comments

Should Apple have included wireless charging in the iPhone 5? [Poll]


Wireless charging only makes sense at one place, my home. At work, in my car, at an airport or where ever else, it does me absolutely no good.

When I had the palm pre, I used the wireless charging in my car, and it was hands down the best feature.

It's something you don't miss, until you've had it and lost it. It is way better for the car than for the home.

The only plus side is, it means apple won't get to charge $100 for the base units (I mean, a cord is $30, so I can only imagine...)

I paid $20-30 each for 3 Duracell PowerMat systems, which included the charging pad and phone sleeve. The slide-on sleeve case adds only a couple of mm in thickness, and 1 cm in length, but is a decent protective case. The 3G/3GS version is now going for $4 new on Amazon, the 4/4S for around $30. Sadly, it will probably be a while before one is available for the 5, and for 2-3 times as much. I will have a couple extras that I need to get rid of, though...

exactly my thought. I was sad to get rid of my touchstone in my car.

The fact is that Apple's iPhone dock options are pretty crappy. I bought one to test and almost immediately bought a Kensington dock to replace it.

I think a standard is needed before it makes sense. If the same plate can charge any phone we will see them everywhere until it will be fore home use only and it's just not what hard to put your phone in a dock.

You said it all right there, Standard! All these money hungry company's and not gonna have one standard on the charging, they can't make money off one standard for a charging pad!Love Apple but they are no different from an other company and we see that now with this 29.95 adapter! Wth, your kidding me on the price!!!

It's kind of silly, you still need to connect a charger to the wall, a bigger, heavier, more expensive one, then you need to put it on a flat surface, and then put the phone over it, no, thanks but no, i just think it's not very practical, I just can't see any advantage on that.

I have been using a touchstone for my Pre 2 for over a year now. I also have a touchstone for my Touchpad.

It is something that I think you just can't get until you try it. It is wonderful. So nice. I just plop my phone on the puck and it's charging, pick it up and I go. No wires, no hassle. No yanked cords when my kids grab it, no searching for the end of the wire.

I will say that I reluctantly just bought an iphone 5. And I was really hoping for wireless charging. It is unfortunate, but my beloved palm is dead, and the only legitimate alternative is apple. They are just so much better than the competition that I can't justify moving to a different platform. BUT... the reality distortion field around iphone products kills me.

Like this quote "Schiller noted that the wireless charging systems still have to be plugged into the wall, so it’s not clear how much convenience they add. The widely-adopted USB cord, meanwhile, can charge in wall outlets, computers and even on airplanes, he said. “Having to create another device you have to plug into the wall is actually, for most situations, more complicated,” Schiller said."

Now people in the comments above and other places have bought it and are preaching the company line. If apple says we don't need it, then we must not need it. Don't tell me I don't need it. Tell me it didn't make sense given the desire to make the thinnest phone. Tell me no one uses it so no one knows what they are missing and we can take a pass on this this development cycle. Don't make up crap like it is no good, especially when you are going to do it in a future model, then claim you "got it right" 'cause everyone else sucks. It's just insulting.

I think that I am like most people, I charge my phone in one place, on my dresser at the end of the day. And that is a very convenient place to have a wireless charging pad.

My honest opinion is that Apple is very smart, they dole out features as they can do so with maximum profitability, not when they can push the market forward. No NFC or wireless charging now means predictable upgrade cycles. They are capitalists and I can respect that. I just hate HP for driving me to them.

I totally agree, just tell us the truth. I think the main reason it wasn't included was so they could tout it as the thinnest iPhone ever.

I have to agree with that douche Schiller. I hate extra cables and cords but spending the extra few seconds plugging in my phone doesn't bother me. For those of you who say I need to try it first, I liken it to a cordless kettle. I don't have to worry about pluggin in i just plop it down and click.
If I could come home and put the phone on the foot of my iMac THEN, I'd rave about it.

Wireless charging as the market currently portrays or sells it, which is: "Puttig the device on another object to charge device without plugging it in." is a nice luxury feature.

Something like NFC would have been a game changer because with would have brought the tech to the masses and push the market forward.

You don't get something for nothing - parts cost would have gone up so something else would have been trimmed from the parts inventory. Also weight and size would have possibly been affected.

Additionally the charging unit would significantly add to cost as well as increasing packaging size and ultimately cost. You'd still need a wired connector for data, etc. so no cost savings there.

It's a no-brainer.

That was my first thought, too. Wireless charging would be kind of neat, but useful enough to justify the additional cost. Especially since it would probably require an Apple-produced wireless charging station, which would definitely be *really* expensive.

It would have been cool to have, but certainly no loss. For how I use my phone and how I charge it, wireless charging would be extremely useful. But for the majority of people it wouldn't help. I didn't expect Apple to put it in and I'm not disappointed its not in there.

They need a standard and also make it small enough that they could actually fit it into an iPhone 5 design without changing the size or giving up any of the specs

When I think of wireless charging, it's more in terms of a standard versus an accessory. When it's in-place so that you just need to be in the proximity of it for your devices to receive a charge rather than something you need to set your device in or on. That might be a standard Apple would rather wait for and do things right... ;-)

Whether or not the majority of people would use it or not, I would still prefer to be able to choose whether or not it is useful, not have someone at Apple tell me that its too complicated for me to use and benefit from. I would love to have wireless charging; I would put it on my desk at home so that when I get home I can just put my phone on my desk and not fiddle with any cables and know it is charging.

Yeah but what about the fact that it would make the iPhone a few mm thicker? That's not worth a maybe useful feature.

I've used wireless induction charging with the 3GS, 4 and 4S. I initially wondered if there was any advantage, given that there's still a wire going to the charging pad, for a slight convenience. What I found was that the slight convenience made a significant difference. I often did not bother plugging in the cable, and occasionally even ran out of juice from procrastinating and forgetting to charge. Or if it was plugged in, I'd sometimes pull it too far and yank the cord out accidentally. However, that never happens now, because it's so easy to just put it on the pad that it's there all the time when I'm in the same room. No more fiddling with the plug in the dark, trying to figure out which way it goes. No more worn out cords. No more dead batteries.

Mind you, it's not a deal-breaker. Having a better-designed plug could also help. I'm willing to get an iPhone 5 even though I can't charge wirelessly. Ironically, the 4 and 4S with wireless charging are 124 mm long, so I'm already used to the length of the 5. I'm also used now to using micro-USB to charge my iPhone when I'm not home, which is about the same size as Lightning. But I find the micro-USB is rather delicate and prone to failure, plus you still have to figure out which direction it goes in the dark.

Would I like to have it without extra cost? Yes. Would Apple be willing to do that? Doubtful.

Apple builds the iPhone (even iPads and iPods) pretty focused on user experience. Around it, Apple makes its hardware project. Would the current wireless charging technology make a real improvement to the user experience? No. So it doesn't have a reason to be there just to be there. That one of the reasons the iPhone is highly profitable: if it doesn't improve UX a lot, it's not going to be there.

That's why iPhones don't have NFC. That's why iPhones aren't the hottest smartphone when you look only at tech specs.

Will the iPhone have wireless charging someday? Yes, when the technology is good enough.

Apple is waiting for COMPLETE wireless charging. Where nothing needs to be plugged in because THAT is the future. Not what is currently out now. At this link, you'll see what I'm talking about. Go to about 6:50 on and you'll see. Apple wants to be able to just place your phone next to a power source, say a computer, and it will just charge. Without and plugs. That is what Phil Schiller means when he says, "you still have to plug something in." Whoever does this first, will change things. That power mat and things like it, yea they are ok and I would use it, but it's not a deal breaker

I can't remember where I first saw this comment, but essentially: if you want wireless charging, get a case and add it. But don't punish the rest of us who prefer the thinner phone, just because you want wireless charging. It's a technology that is non-standardized and would have added to the cost, weight, and thickness of the device.

Wireless charging is such a gimmick! It still needs to plug into something. It's not wireless at all actually. When I can have a plug into a wall and my device anywhere within a 10-15 radius of it and charge, thats when I'll buy into wireless charging.

The phone charges wirelessly. The charging station still needs plugged in. I'm sorry you can't see the difference .

So Bezzy , basically a wireless router isn't a wireless router cause it has to be plugged in !? lol.
The wireless part refers to the fact that your phone can be charged without THE PHONE having to be connected to the charger using wires ;)

But it still needs to be put onto something. Its an expensive and not needed till its more developed. And a WIFI router is completely different. It makes a whole house in fact wireless. You turn on a switch from your device anywhere within a radius of the Wifi. Until they do that with charging, I don't want it.

They should not be allowed to call it wireless charging............................ It's semi wireless charging.

Apple may never add wireless charging to their devices. Too many drawbacks:

1. Less efficient than wired charging: energy is wasted in the form of heat. Greenpeace would have a hissy fit.

2. Slower charging: the inefficiency means less power can be delivered.

3. Complexity and cost: charging pads and in-device charging units are more complex and more expensive than simple cords and contacts.

And the real killer:

4. Inconvenience: when you pick up your device to use it, it is no longer on its charging pad. You could, in theory, pick up the device and pad together, but that's less convenient than using a wired charging solution.

We'll add that yes, as lungho says, wireless charging is useless in a car. The device would need a power plug, which would require a charging cable and car power adapter. So, frankly, wireless charging simply isn't worth the trouble.

Great for electric toothbrushes because they never leave the bathroom. Not so good for mobile technology.

Point 4 is my main issue with this technology. If my phone gets too low I can plug it in anywhere there is an outlet and still use it. With the pad, I'd have to drop it and leave it so that it could charge enough to use it again. This just isn't efficient.

we have no wireless charging technology yet!
come on putting the phone on the wireless device is not wireless charging!!! you wanna tell me about wireless charging then it should be at lease like the wi fi technology!!

What I've heard so far is that wireless charging is slow and makes the phone warm. Besides the fact that the you have to plug it into a wall, I like to use my phone while it is charging.

I've been charging my iPhones wireless for a couple of years, and it does not make the phone warm. It also seems to be just as fast. And even if you have the capability, that does not prevent you from plugging in a cord to charge, instead. Although I don't usually need to charge while I'm using it, since it's always charging when I'm not using it, so that it never gets very low. I do plug it in when in the car. Sometimes I use a battery case, so I can use it while charging and not connected to anything, like recently when I went fishing with it on the ocean, but that's another discussion.

It occurs to me that I haven't answered the question here, should Apple have included wireless charging in the iPhone 5? As someone who has used wireless charging with three different models of iPhone, I would say, it depends. If they can do it without compromising too much in cost, weight, thinness and other features, then yes, it's a great feature. However, it may not have worked for engineering reasons, in which case it may not have been important enough. I'm sure that there will soon be wireless charging sleeves available, and I'll be charging my iPhone 5 just like I did all my other iPhones. I can live without it until then. Having a better connector will help.

Really? People clicked "Absolutely! It's a deal breaker!" for wireless charging roflmfao. This seriously mad me laugh.

Yes the should have included it...BUT

It was in NO way important to me or a deal breaker. I had a palm pre and never bought a touchstone. a cable is fine for me. I've never been in a phone store and heard anyone mention wireless charging or NFC. i think it's fine but it's not high on my list. All that being said i'm sticking with a 4S happily. And even if they'd had wireless charging it wouldn't have change my mind one bit.

I am surprised no one did not mention it yet, but I believe wireless charging only makes sense if a mobile device is completely sealed. To make a design waterproof there should be no ports or holes. Everything should be wireless including charging, synching, music listenting. Heat must dissipate through the case. Speakers and mics must be sealed somehow as well but I am not sure if this is possible with the current state of tech.
So without a device being sealed, there is absolutely no reason to have a wireless charging unless it does not complicate its design.

Can you charge wirelessly with a protective cover on? I'd imagine that would be an issue considering how many people use cases on their expensive gadgets.

Yes. The device does not need to actually touch the pad to charge. I can put 4 credit cards between them and still charge. Of course, I'm using a protective case with wireless charging built in. It doesn't have to be in the phone.

I would have been more excited to get a MagSafe connector than wireless charging. Although the durability of this new connector looks promising.

Don't get me wrong, "wireless" charging is convenient at times (i.e. coming home hammered at 4AM with no sense of coordination), but I don't understand how this is a deal breaker for some. It's more so a gimmick for geeks and it seems to get them aroused to be able to say that their device charges wirelessly. But, your device has to stay on the surface to charge. If you need to use it you have to pick it up and your device won't be charging anymore. Where as wired charging I can still pick up and use my device while it is charging. Now if the device didn't have to be on a surface and still charged, that would be an impressive, must have feature. Maybe a bluetooth charger or something of that nature. Until then...meh

I'm on a bus from Asessippi Ski Resort to Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada. My iPhone is almost out of battery power at 10% and since the bus (and plane, perhaps) don't have any plug outlets for me to charge my iPhone, it'll shut down until I get home (in Winnipeg) to charge my iPhone. That's why I'm wanting Apple to have wireless charging because I don't want to turn off my iPhone to save energy. I GOT A LOT OF THINGS TO DO ON THERE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!! I mean, Samsung and Nokia's got wireless charging. Why can't Apple have it? They need to have it SOON!

It wouldn't help you. Any wireless charging system requires contact with a charging pad, which must be plugged into a wall, whether it's Nokia or the PowerMat system I've used for years with an iPhone. They're currently not built onto buses. What you really need is an external battery or a Mophie case.

to say " you still have to plug it in " is funny what these geniuses don't mention is , yes you have to plug it in , but only once and after that you just lay your phone in the cradle . ha that's far better than staying with their old way of doing things . very surprising since apple is suppose to be the top or best , well maybe on this one their far behind .