Apple tech drives Qi2 standard for faster wireless charging

Apple tech drives Qi2 standard for faster wireless charging

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

The Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) is planning to launch a second generation Qi2 standard for faster wireless charging using technology from Apple.

The consortium has ambitious plant to use Qi2, which will be announced later in the year, to unify the industry under one global standard and provide enhanced convenience and efficiency for mobile devices and wearables.

This comes as the AirFuel Alliance launched an RF wireless power transfer specification called AirFuel RF at CES 2023.

AirFuel launches standard for RF wireless power transfer

“Consumers and retailers have been telling us they’re confused concerning what devices are Qi Certified and those that claim to work with Qi but are not Qi Certified. This confusion can lead to a poor user experience and even safety issues,” says Paul Struhsaker, executive director of the Wireless Power Consortium.

“Our standard assures consumers that their devices are safe, efficient, and interoperable with other brands. Qi2 will be the global standard for wireless charging and provide consumers and retailers with that assurance.”

Apple provided the basis for the new Qi2 standard building on its MagSafe technology for a Magnetic Power Profile. This will ensure that phones or other rechargeable battery-powered mobile products are perfectly aligned with charging devices, allowing faster power transfer.

The Qi2 (pronounced ‘chee two’) standard will replace its predecessor, Qi, in a market where about one billion devices – transmitters and receivers – will be sold worldwide in 2023.

The launch of the Qi2 standard and shipment of devices at the end of the year will open up new accessories that wouldn’t be chargeable using current flat surface-to-flat surface devices.

“Energy efficiency and sustainability are on everyone’s minds these days,” said Struhsaker. “Qi2’s perfect alignment improves energy efficiency by reducing the energy loss that can happen when the phone or the charger is not aligned. Just as important, Qi2 will greatly reduce the landfill waste associated with wired charger replacement due to plugs breaking and the stress placed on cords from daily connecting and disconnecting.”

Wireless power for the kitchen

Alongside Qi the WPC has been developing a version for kitchen appliances.

The Ki Cordless Kitchen standard aims to do for kitchen appliances what Qi did for mobile phones: removing the need for power cords.

Cordless appliances are more convenient to clean and easier to use. Under-counter transmitters make better use of limited counter top space, adding to cooking convenience.  And, the two-way communication between the appliance and the power transmitter adds the potential for smart cooking features.

The Ki Spec Group has completed the fifth and sixth of the ten books that make up the specification.

“We have made tremendous progress,” said Hans Kablau, Chair of the Ki Spec Group and Household and Industry SWG. “We have finished the Power Delivery book earlier this year. This is the heart of the spec, enabling independent design of interoperable power transmitters and cordless appliances up to 2.2 kilowatts.

This defines key requirements for the construction of power transmitters and receivers and sets out how power is delivered. 

The Ki Spec Group has just completed the Foreign Object Detection book. “This is an important part of the specification,” said Kablau. “It describes how transmitters can identify external objects such as metals and avoid them being heated by the wireless power transfer. This feature is important for safety, which makes it a critical part of the the Ki standard, along with interoperability.”

Finally, the Ki Spec Group is completing its Protocol Book. “This book describes all information exchange between Ki transmitters and Ki cordless appliances which is needed to achieve full interoperability,” Kablau said.

The Ki Spec Group continues its work to finalize the Ki specifications and to develop certification tests, document reference designs, and make plans for plugfests.


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