Starbucks is upgrading Powermat charging pads to support iPhone 8, iPhone X

Powermat chargers, which up until now only complied with the PMA wireless charging standard, are getting an upgrade in the wake of the debut of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus and iPhone X. No physical changes will need to be made in order to add Qi support - it's the software of the charging pads that will be updated. Powermat Chief Technical Officer Itay Sherman described the difference between the two standards in a conversation with SlashGear on Thursday:

We have the charge spot itself, and the charge spot is two parts: one part is the kinetic part, which drives the power, and the other part is the controller which controls the power transfer. We've designed the magnetic part to be as generic as possible to cover all standards if possible … If there's a new standard, a new variant of the standard —you have PMA, you have Qi, you have Samsung's Wireless Fast Charging —we can download new software to our points and support them. The biggest difference between PMA and Qi is the communication protocols.

The software update is not compatible with all Powermat technology, however, so if you were hoping to convert your own consumer-grade charger to support the Qi standard, you're probably out of luck.

Though Sherman didn't say when exactly this update would roll out for each individual branch, Powermat expects it to be before the iPhone 8 makes it into your excitedly grasping hands. So next time you visit a Starbucks with your shiny new device, use the magical powers of wireless charging to refill that iPhone battery while you use the magical powers of caffeine to refill your battery.

Thoughts? Questions?

How do you feel about the Powermat update? Let us know in the comments!

Tory Foulk

Tory Foulk is a writer at Mobile Nations. She lives at the intersection of technology and sorcery and enjoys radio, bees, and houses in small towns. When she isn't working on articles, you'll likely find her listening to her favorite podcasts in a carefully curated blanket nest. You can follow her on Twitter at @tsfoulk.

  • Were we not led to believe that Qi was the accepted standard in inductive charging? So where did this PMA standard come from and why is it in Starbucks instead of Qi? Do other devices support both standards? Can you charge your Samsung in a Starbucks?
  • Samsung supports both PMA and Qi, although most devices are Qi only. It's just interesting that Starbucks needed Apple to support Qi to deploy a software update to enable charging on thousands of devices - many of which support wireless charging for years now! I bet many Android users do not even realize what features are present in their devices (like wireless charging).
  • I'm glad apple got starbucks to flip to QI but android users are well aware of wireless charging, have been for years now. In fact carriers use that opportunity to push overpriced charging stations to everyone buying a new device. Now you all can check out the plethora of QI furniture and devices out there to use, and android users will welcome all the cool new QI stuff that will come out as a result of apple catching up and pulling all the companies that bank on apple accessories with them. Asus designo monitors have a built in QI base which is pretty slick btw and its available now. I'm still waiting on their CES demo'd 38" but dont know if that'll happen. The 34" ultrawide is available though.