Lack of a headphone jack aside, one of the top complaints about the new iPhone 7 is that Apple, unlike Samsung, failed to include wireless charging in their latest flagship smartphone devices.
With all of the other updates to the iPhone—wireless and Lightning-based earbuds, dual cameras on the Plus model, improved water resistance, more color options, yadda yadda yadda—many out there still complain that the phone is missing the one thing that will make their lives complete (until the next shiny new toy comes around).
Problem is: wireless charging is completely overhyped. And here’s why.
Wireless—or, more appropriately, inductive charging—is a neat little trick on the brain; it doesn’t require the device itself to be plugged into the wall, so the user feels a sense of “freedom” they are otherwise not used to.
And the feeling, itself, is somewhat real, especially at first. As an Apple Watch owner, I know it well—at the end of the day, instead of trying to fumble around with a 6-pin connector in a tiny slot, I pop my watch onto my (overpriced) Apple nightstand, and, like some electronic wave of a magician’s wand, charging occurs. And that is great for the Apple Watch; in fact, given it’s small size, it’s almost absolutely necessary.
For my iPhone though? Not so much.
While the thought of just throwing my iPhone on a charging pad at night would be slightly easier, it wouldn’t change my user behavior in the least. The charging pad still needs to be plugged into the wall. That wall outlet would still need to be close by my bed, if I wanted my phone nearby. When it’s all said & done, induction charging saves a half-second of fumbling, but user behavior remains exactly the same.
Now, if so-called “wireless” charging became truly wireless—and by that, I mean, done over Bluetooth or WiFi or some other supernatural phenomenon Silicon Valley dreams up—that would actually change user behavior. And if I knew that update were coming in, say, the iPhone 8, I’d likely hold off on an upgrade until that point. OK, I absolutely would.
However, that’s not happening any time soon. And as much as I love my iPhone 6 Plus, that jet black iPhone 7 will be calling my name come November…wireless charging notwithstanding, because that “neat little trick on the brain” would never be a deciding factor when it comes to whether or not I upgrade.