Among the many robots, televisions, electric vehicles and this hair printer At CES, there was a quiet announcement of a new generation of wireless charging for phones and other battery-powered devices. Qi2 (pronounced “chi two”) is an extension of the Qi wireless charging found in phones like the iPhone 14, Samsung Galaxy S22, and Google Pixel 7.
The next version of Qi promises to be more efficient, thanks in part to magnets that help position devices in the perfect position on charging pads. If this sounds familiar, it’s because Apple’s MagSafe charger, which was released alongside the iPhone 12 in 2020, essentially is. In fact, Apple, which is one of more than 350 companies that make up the Wireless Power Consortium, helped develop the Magnetic Power Profile, which is part of Qi2.
While the magnetic power profile isn’t exactly the same as MagSafe’s, it could result in Qi2 being adopted on more devices, including AR or VR headsets. This can also result in faster charging speeds. Qi wireless charging is currently limited to 15W, which is also the maximum speed for Apple MagSafe charging on an iPhone.
“Perfect Qi2 alignment improves energy efficiency by reducing the wasted power that can occur when a phone or charger is not aligned,” Wireless Power Consortium chief executive Paul Strusaker said in a press release. “Just as important, Qi2 will significantly reduce the waste associated with replacing wired chargers due to broken plugs and stress on cords with daily plugging and unplugging.”
Another advantage of Qi2 is the ability to use accessories. Take a look at the number of MagSafe and magnetic accessories currently being made for the iPhone. Everything from charging cases and stands to tripod mounts and wallets is here. Android phones that support Qi2 can benefit from a similar range of accessories.
Given that Android phones come in all shapes and sizes, Qi2 and its magnetic power profile could be an equalizer that makes certain accessories interchangeable between different phones and even different devices. Qi2 offers a level of ubiquity similar to what USB-C connectors provide, without the confusion caused by different types of USB-C cables that all look the same. It’s hard to tell the difference between a USB-C cable that supports Thunderbolt 3 and a cable that supports USB 4.
The Qi2’s magnetic power profile is different from MagSafe, which also uses magnets, but they are located in a different location. So you couldn’t connect a MagSafe charger to a Qi2 powered phone. I have to admit that some companies make magnetic cases for Android phones that allow them to work with MagSafe.
MagSafe also contains a microprocessor, not found in the Qi2 magnetic power profile, that lets the iPhone know what it’s connected to. For example, if you remove the Apple MagSafe wallet from your iPhone, it will mark where it was last connected and may even send you a notification that it is separated from your phone. My guess is that Android phone makers could add their own microprocessor to Qi2 for similar functionality.
FROMfrom Lightning wired charging to USB-C, Qi2 can also provide Apple about which there have been rumors for several years. And since Qi2 is a standard, it could help Apple avoid any potential EU action on wireless charging.
In general, Qi2 promises a lot. And while it’s unclear if Apple will replace MagSafe with the Qi2 Magnetic Power Profile, it proves that even competing companies can agree on a standard that will benefit us all. Now do it for text messaging.