Apple quietly joins Wireless Power Consortium, igniting speculation next iPhone will feature Qi charging

White Apple iPhone 7 Plus smartphone - next could feature wireless charging

Apple has quietly joined the Wireless Power Consortium, the multinational group that oversees the Qi wireless charging standard, according to 9to5Mac.

The publication spotted Apple’s entry into the now 213 member group after comparing a live version of the Wireless Power Consortium’s website with a cached .

While far from a smoking gun, the move lends weight to the rumour that company will add wireless charging functionality to its next iPhone. Since 2012, Apple has said it doesn’t see much value in the technology, with the company’s Phil Schiller noting at one point that wireless charging doesn’t make refilling a smartphone’s battery more convenient than a standard USB cable.

However, it now appears the next iPhone will likely ship with simple inductive charging, in part because consumer demand for the feature has become too loud for Apple to ignore. A technology analyst for market research firm IHS told 9to5Mac that 90 percent of consumers want the feature in their next device.

Another rumour suggests Apple likely won’t bundle its wireless charging accessory with the device, instead offering it as an optional add-on consumers can buy. It’s also possible Apple will use the same off-shot of Qi wireless charging that’s included in the Apple Watch, which is to say existing Qi-compatible wireless charging mats won’t work with the new iPhone.