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2018 iPhones May Feature Faster and More Efficient Wireless Charging With Switch to Copper Coil

A translated China Times report today claims that the wireless charging coil on at least one of Apple's widely rumored trio of 2018 iPhones will be made from copper wire instead of FPC, short for ferrite polymer composite, allowing for both faster and more efficient wireless charging from a technical standpoint.

iPhone X's wireless charging coil visible under X-ray via iFixit/Creative Electron

Essentially, the report claims that Apple will be switching from thinner FPC coils with higher resistance to thicker copper wire coils with lower resistance for the wireless charging receiver built into iPhones.
Since high power and high efficiency are the trend of wireless charging, it is expected that at least one of the three iPhones in 2018 will abandon the FPC to adopt a copper coil solution to achieve the above goal, and because the copper wire coil resistance is small. It can also offset the thermal effects generated by the increase in power.
The reduced resistance would allow Apple to increase the power threshold that iPhones can safely handle via wireless charging, without overheating, which could result in faster and more efficient charging via Qi-certified mats, although this would still depend on the wattage that a particular mat outputs.

For context, FPC is a mixture of iron, at least one other metal, and plastic, whereas copper is a more pure material. Both have electromagnetic induction properties, making them suitable for wireless charging coils.

The latest iPhones support wireless charging at up to 7.5W, which actually isn't much faster than wired charging with a 5W power adapter, due to the efficiency limitations of the FPC coil. The switch to copper would yield improvements, assuming that Apple found a way to fit the thicker coil in its next iPhones.

Apple is expected to unveil its 2018 iPhones at Steve Jobs Theater in September, but the company has yet to announce a date for the event.

Related Roundup: iPhone XS


Top Rated Comments

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4 weeks ago

All these minor improvements are shaping up to be an overall major improvement. Faster wireless charging, faster and more reliable LTE, faster processor, possibly more RAM, etc.


So the normal upgrade path.
Rating: 12 Votes
4 weeks ago
I have wondered about this in relation to AirPower. I think they delayed it because they wanted to release it with higher output levels, but that would give away features in future devices. If there is only one device which gets it, it will probably be the iPhone X Plus as it would have more room inside for a thicker charging coil.
Rating: 9 Votes
4 weeks ago
Another use for copper - efficient heat sinks in MacBooks. Hint, hint Apple!
Rating: 5 Votes
4 weeks ago
All these minor improvements are shaping up to be an overall major improvement. Faster wireless charging, faster and more reliable LTE, faster processor, possibly more RAM, etc.
Rating: 5 Votes
4 weeks ago
It's really ridiculous how Apple messes these things up. They're 5 years late on Qi and now they realise they haven't put copper in? Every other manufacturer has done this year ago. You can charge a Samsung twice as fast in 2015 than you can charge an iPhone in 2018.
But hey - just spend another $1000 this year to get the real real iPhone X/8. The one we should have released last year.
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As an electronic engineer I’ve always found the S versions a lot more interesting.

I’ve upgraded 3GS > 4S > 5S > 6S and I’ll likely get this.

This TSMC 7nm processor should be something to behold, Apple has really impressed me with the A-series chip design. Probably the best all round, most efficiently design chip in the world of smartphones.

I’m hoping Intel’s XMM 7560 is a good improvement over last years slightly lacking modem, I’d still rather have a Qualcom X20. Also Band 71 support hopefully.

Better FaceID, $100 cheaper, better camera, better wireless charging, new 18W fast charger with USB-C at one end.

Personally they all look like black slabs which is fine for me, it’s what’s inside that really gets me interested.


You do realise you missed out on the last S, right?

After the 6S came the 7. The "7S" just happens to be called 8.
Rating: 5 Votes
4 weeks ago

Would this work with standard Qi chargers or would this need a new, more powerful Qi "plus" mat; or worse - Apple's own proprietary charging mat?

There's no need for more powerful mats. Chargers routinely offer up to 15W of charging power. The 7.5W limitation on iPhones was Apple's choice. Initially it seemed weird that iPhones charged at such low power versus other phones. The material in the coil makes that decision more clearly understandable... if the rumors are true, of course. It seems Apple was using a bit of caution with tech they'd never previously used in phones.
Rating: 5 Votes
4 weeks ago
How crappy that Apple did not give faster wireless charging in iPhone X, like the competition offers! *rolls eyes*
Rating: 5 Votes
4 weeks ago
I have no doubts faster charging would be beneficial for many many people. Myself i place my iPhone X every evening before I go to bed on the charging matt and pick it up in the morning, During that time I sleep wouln't care how fast it does it. But when I am travelling, if I am running low on battery obviously it would be great it if it would charge quicker.
Rating: 5 Votes
4 weeks ago

If true, with the cost of copper as high as it is, I think this would go only into the more expensive plus models. That’s a LOT of copper for Apple to source.


I am sure a minor cut into its profits can offset the present cost until prices even out. Who am I kidding here, this is Apple. iPhone X+ Starting at $1050 USD for 64GB of base storage. Add Apple Pencil 2.0 for $99 USD. Add AppleCare, at the end of it all you will spend $1500 USD the cost of a MacBook.
Rating: 4 Votes
4 weeks ago

All these minor improvements are shaping up to be an overall major improvement. Faster wireless charging, faster and more reliable LTE, faster processor, possibly more RAM, etc.

So basically, things that can be expected for any new iPhone, even an S revision. Good to see Apple getting praised for simply not releasing a complete disappointment. ;)
Rating: 4 Votes

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