OPINION: Wireless charging really isn’t all that useful, here’s how it could be


Scott Rainey (New)

Scott Rainey

Apple, the folks over in Cupertino, California, that we all know and love, announced they will release their second version of AirPod earphones in 2019. The first AirPods were great, as you can pair them with anything that has Bluetooth, charge them while they are in your pocket and flex on all your friends about how rich you are for owning a pair. The second generation AirPods will have some additional features like hands-free Siri activation, faster Bluetooth pairing speed and the best new feature — wireless charging.

Wireless charging for phones and other devices has been around for some time now. Samsung was the first of the mobile giants to carry this technology, as they released it in their Galaxy S6 phone in 2015. Samsung users used this as a flex on Apple users for some time, as Apple didn’t carry the technology until 2017 to correspond with the release of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. As a proud owner of one of these phones, I can tell you that wireless charging is a cool, novel idea, but it is not all that practical.

We want to be able to use our phones while they charge. This was the main reason behind the uproar about Apple’s decision to remove the headphone jack. People wanted to charge their phones and listen to music at the same time without having to purchase a separate adapter that would allow for this. Wireless charging all but eliminates the ability to use your phone while charging it, unless you’re streaming music via bluetooth and don’t want to scroll through Twitter at the same time.

With the new AirPods, things are a bit different. For those who don’t know, AirPods charge inside their case, which you can charge with one of Apple’s Lightning chargers. The case will charge while you use your AirPods, so you can freely listen to music as your case charges somewhere else. This is where I see wireless charging actually being useful. If you want to use your AirPods, you can just set the case down on a wireless charger and go about your business.

When you’re done with them, you can put them back in their case, and you never have to worry about pesky cords getting in between you and your music ever again!

Jokes aside, this is an excellent feature Apple has added to their product. I know that plugging and unplugging the charger is not really that much of a hassle, but it is cool to see the tech companies working hard to eliminate the need for wires. Wireless charging is a cool idea, but the novelty of it for many years has been just that, a novelty.

If Apple came out with a phone case that could wirelessly charge your phone, that would be incredible. If that phone case could also be charged wirelessly, then that would really make wireless charging more of a utility than a novelty.

For now, we can only wish for these features, but the new AirPod wireless charging feature is a step in the right direction. Apple decided to add wireless charging to their phones likely because Samsung did it, and they thought they would be left behind if they didn’t do the same. If they can make strides to actually make the feature a utility, as they have done for many other features, then they will be able to sway the future of technology as they have in the past.

Scott Rainey is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected].