The Wireless Power Consortium, which maintains the Qi wireless charging standard, has announced a new Qi2 standard that will provide a new Magnetic Power Profile based on Apple’s MagSafe technology for iPhones. This will enable faster and more efficient wireless charging, as well as the ability to charge new form factors – and likely the next crop of Android phones in 2024.
Details are scarce at this early stage, but the announcement, which coincides with CES 2023, accelerates the replacement of the original Qi standard released in 2008. Products that support Qi2 (pronounced “chee two”) are not expected to go on sale until the end of 2023.
It looks like Qi2 is effectively becoming “MagSafe for everything” and should help standardize speeds and compatibility. While the Qi standard currently supports charging speeds of up to 15W, Apple limits wireless charging to 7.5W unless an official MagSafe product is used. Additionally, some products are listed as “MagSafe Compatible” because they have magnets but are not officially licensed and are still limited to 7.5W.
Wireless Power Consortium
At the core of Qi2 is a new Magnetic Power Profile provided by Apple, a WPC member, based on its MagSafe technology. This magnetic mount helps align load coils for better efficiency and less power loss, enabling faster charging speeds. We don’t yet know what the maximum charging speed for Qi2 will be, or if Apple will support charging speeds in excess of 15W with current or future iPhones.
Magnetic alignment has other benefits. As the WPC says, “Because there is no need for a flat surface-to-plane connection, the magnetic locking feature supports new product form factors, such as an AR/VR headset. It also supports new types of accessories that attach magnetically to the back of the phone, such as an extra battery.” Apple has released a few accessories that take advantage of the technology, but for the most part, MagSafe hasn’t reached its full potential.
For iPhone users, this likely means we’ll see a lot more third-party chargers capable of charging at 15W when using a MagSafe-compatible iPhone (iPhone 12 or newer). It’s also likely that Apple will immediately support Qi2 on MagSafe-compatible phones, and Qi2 chargers will be able to exceed the 7.5W charging limit without requiring a license from Apple. In other words, we’re at least getting a wider variety of more affordable 15W MagSafe-compatible wireless chargers.