New reports signal that Apple could have a game-changing new feature up its sleeve for 2017: the ability to ditch charging cords forever and wirelessly charge your phone! Imaging being able to charge your iPhone while in your pocket or even while you surf on your iPad! The feature could be unveiled next year.

On the horizon: Never worry about charging cords again

How many chargers do you have sitting between your home and office?  My guess is no less than $50 worth and you can never find one when you need one.  Wireless charging technology has been around (in rough form) since 2008 but it has never been a great solution.  You need to keep your device within inches of another device (that’s connected to a charging cord) or on top of a charging pad or even furniture (Ikea threw in this solution), which is less efficient versus a power cord at delivering a charge.  For that reason, Apple has stayed away from incorporating it into their devices, despite many, many rumors.

Did you see Shibani host the Yahoo’s earnings call with CEO Marissa Mayer this week?  Check it out here.

With a new report out from Bloomberg,  Apple seems ready to up its game to take wireless charging to a more practical place.  The report indicates Apple could add a new feature that “would allow iPhones and iPads to be powered from further away than the charging mats used with current smartphones,” according to Bloomberg. The reports suggests being able to charge from a distance of a meter, or just over 3 feet away. So, when you’re in that 3 feet zone, you can walk, talk, surf, watch and you iPad or iPhone will charge at the simultaneously.

Why not sooner?

Apple frequently finds itself falling behind competitors on some features, waiting until it has wow-factor appeal or leap frogs the competition.  Here the challenge with wireless charging is that the “efficiency of power transfer decreases as the distance…grows, which means batteries take longer to recharge,” says the same author. Even Apple knows that charging mats are not a more convenient solution to power cords.

An another inherent restriction, is that no aluminum smartphone can, at present, use wireless charging, without having to add an extra plastic case on the outside, as Cult of Mac reminds us.  Though, “it seems that Qualcomm may have recently solved that issue, but it was no doubt a big sticking point for Jony Ive and his well-known love of building metal devices.”

For early adopters:

Samsung and Sony have already incorporating wireless charging capabilities, which users like.   The Apple watch also charges in a semi-wireless way, but consumers are really waiting for a mainstream company (Apple) to create a more efficient wireless charging technology that can span a wider distance. And for Apple, it is critical to do this to keep fans buying their devices, as reports out last week indicated that Apple iPhone sales are slowing.