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Will Apple's iPhone 6 Charge Wirelessly?

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Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) recently announced that the company will expand its wireless charging initiative to serve most domestic customers.

The expansion will allow Duracell Powermat to bring 100,000 charging stations to company-operated Starbucks locations, along with a number of Teavana bars.

This is big news for the wireless charging industry, but there is one catch: most major smartphone manufacturers have not built devices with wireless charging in mind.

That should theoretically change now that Starbucks has fully committed itself to wireless charging. But does that mean that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) will add wireless charging to the iPhone 6?

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“Obviously we never know what Apple is going to do until they announce it,” IHS Technology analyst Ryan Sanderson told Benzinga. “I guess what we have to think about here is there have been products that allow Apple devices to charge wirelessly for a number of years, and obviously they have not been adopted on a mass scale. Maybe it will allow those manufacturers to create designs [that] are more appealing to consumers. This technology works without necessarily having the OEM designing it right in.”

On the other hand, Sanderson said that Apple's support would make “huge noise” in the area.

“It could make a difference,” he added.

For the time being, Sanderson expects OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to remain cautious about wireless charging. There are currently three groups that offer different wireless charging specifications: PMA (Power Matters Alliance), WPC (Wireless Power Consortium) and A4WP (Alliance for Wireless Power). Starbucks only supports PMA. Consequently, most existing devices will not work with the Powermat chargers.

“I think OEMs, including Apple, are going to be wary that there's still multiple platforms out there and that there's no single standard,” said Sanderson. “Although [the Starbucks deal] is a positive development for the industry, I certainly don't think it's one that shouts out to OEMs to go and make their move now. There's still going to be some uncertainty from those OEMs, and some will continue to sit back and see how this direction goes.”

Apple In The Spotlight

Sanderson said that people always ask him about what would happen if the Mac maker were to do “this” or “that.” They ask about Apple before any other OEM.

“[But] if we look at the combined market for mobile phones and tablets, Samsung actually has a much larger share of that market and is still growing and capturing share,” said Sanderson. “In five years time, they're going to have an even bigger share of that market. So perhaps the question should be, ‘What if Samsung decides to go one way or the other?' Because that could really tie up a large portion of the market and drive things forward.”

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.

Posted-In: Apple comments IHS IHS Technology iPhoneAnalyst Color Rumors Tech Best of Benzinga

 

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