One of the features I was secretly hoping to see in the iPhone 5: induction-powered battery charging.
This already exists in the form of third-party products like the Powermat and Energizer Qi. Alas, Apple missed a chance to wow the world, catch up with smartphones like the Lumia 820 and 920, and perhaps distract from the massive disappointment that is the Lightning connector.
Fortunately, if you own an
iPhone 4 or 4S, you still have options for cutting the charging cord. One of the latest: BuQu Tech's Magnetyze, a complete
inductive conductive-charging kit priced at $69.99. Update:
According to a Magnetyze rep, the product actually employs conductive charging, meaning there's a metal-to-metal connection. Functionally they deliver similar benefits, but technically they're a bit different.
The kit consists of a thin, lightweight sled that plugs into your iPhone's dock connector and protects the back. A separate bumper wraps around the entire package to provide side protection.
The whole thing adds mere millimeters to the length of your iPhone, and while it's natural to balk at extra bezel, remember that the iPhone 5 is longer still. Your pocket can accommodate it.
The other main component is the desktop stand, a slim, slanted affair with a strong magnet that holds your iPhone horizontally or vertically. When you join the two, your phone immediately starts charging.
The stand plugs into an included AC adapter, though it can also plug into a USB port if you want simultaneous charging and syncing. (The latter really isn't necessary in these days of Wi-Fi sync.) So obviously this isn't a totally wireless charging solution -- the stand must plug into something, after all -- but it's definitely the most convenient one.
BuQu Tech also supplies a special USB cable for charging without the stand -- a useful option for when you're traveling or in the car or wherever. The company will soon offer a dedicated car stand/charger along with a wall charger and a three-device docking station.
The real downside to this and every other inductive/conductive charger, battery sled, and the like is that you're giving up easy access to your iPhone's dock connector. Thus, you can't just drop the phone onto a speaker dock or plug in a standard 30-pin car charger. So you're effectively gaining one kind of convenience while giving up another.
Such is the price of tasting the future. It stands to reason that at some point, all mobile devices will support inductive charging. Heck, even Apple holds a patent for an inductive charging docking station. Maybe we'll see that future in the iPhone 5S or iPhone 6.
In the meantime, the Magnetyze gets the job done efficiently and inexpensively. Your thoughts?