Wireless Chargers at Starbucks Will Support New Qi Technology

September 17, 2017

starbucks-qi-wireless-charging-supportGood news came in for coffee lovers and iPhone fans this week. The large coffeehouse chain Starbucks announced its wireless charging spots would support the Qi technology implemented in Apple's next iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X. Powermat, who provides the public changing pads, has confirmed the news as well, saying that it is currently working on upgrading its systems to meet the new standards. Starbucks and Powermat plan to update the charging pads in every single shop of the coffee chain in which cable-free charging spots are available. The implementation of the Qi technology should be completed by the time the new iPhone X and iPhone 8 have been launched worldwide, meaning that the two companies should finish the process by the end of the fall season this year.

Apple revealed its new devices at its September 2017 event that took place last week. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus can already be pre-ordered whereby the new models come with built-in Qi standard wireless charging support and will start shipping this Friday. For the iPhone X, however, fans will have to wait a little longer. That model will not be available for pre-order until October 27, while deliveries will not start until November 3, 2017.

Without any doubt, this is a great move by the international coffee chain as it will attract Apple users who wish to upgrade their devices to the latest versions. Currently, there are two main standards in the wireless charging ecosystem – the PMA which is supported by the Power Matters Alliance, and the Qi standard which is backed by the Wireless Power Consortium. Starbucks already offered wireless charging for the users of Android devices, yet now that Apple will implement a wireless charging technology as well it is clear that the coffee house needs to catch up. While most Android devices support both standards, iPhone users looked left aside after the company announced it had adopted exclusively the Qi technology.

It turns out that the Powermat public charging pads are cleverer than initially assumed. They can support the Qi technology as well by simply upgrading the software to add new communication protocols, which constitutes the main difference between the two standards. Since all the charging spots are connected to the Powermat's backend cloud, it should not take that much time to download the new software and cover both standards. In fact, for the same reason, Qi support is already available in several other systems that offer Powermat wireless charging options, like some General Motors vehicles.

The availability of the new Qi wireless charging technology for free at various public locations can thus be a reality very soon, so users of Apple devices will have the opportunity to work outside of their homes and offices.

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