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