Logitech has announced that later this month, it will debut a wireless Qi charger called the Logitech Powered that the company designed in collaboration with Apple.
The charger delivers 7.5W of power, is vertically-oriented, and will work with the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X, which sit in the charger's U-shaped cradle. Logitech says that the iPhone doesn’t need to be precisely placed in the dock to charge. An iPhone will also charge even if set in landscape mode across the top of the cradle. Although Logitech’s press release says the Powered will be sold for $69.99, its website currently offers the charger for pre-order for $79.99.
I’ve been using a vertical Qi charger for about a month and love how well it works with Face ID, which makes it easy to check something quickly on my iPhone when I’m at my desk. Although it’s on the pricey end of the spectrum, the ability of the Powered to charge in portrait or landscape and its vertical orientation makes it a tempting addition to a desk, countertop, or nightstand.
The Logitech Powered will be available at Apple Stores and directly from Logitech, where it can be pre-ordered now.
Matt Birchler ran some tests with faster wireless charging on iOS 11.2 (currently in beta) and, unfortunately, the results aren’t impressive:
Over the 2 hour test, the iPhone 8 Plus went from zero to 47%. It charged at an incredibly consistent 4% per 10 minutes. Previously I got up to 40% with this same charger after 2 hours, which is a 17% improvement in wireless charging speed. While this is indeed an increase, it’s not the sort of increase that’s going to get you from “wireless charging is too slow” to “I love wireless charging!”. If you have 2 hours to change your phone and there is a 7% difference in the change level, I don’t think that’s a huge deal. Especially when you compare 30 minutes on the charger, I saw literally no change in performance, as it took 30 minutes for the phone to reach 11% charge.
As I noted yesterday, the Qi spec supports up to 15W, but it’s unclear if Apple will go beyond 7.5W for wireless charging on the iPhone 8 and X lines. “Faster” wireless charging doesn’t compare to actual USB-C fast charging at all – earlier today, I tested a 30W USB-C battery pack for an iPhone X story I’m working on, and the device charged by 83% in just 60 minutes. Now that is remarkable.
Juli Clover, writing for MacRumors:
Starting with iOS 11.2, the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X are able to charge at 7.5 watts using compatible Qi-based wireless charging accessories.
Currently, on iOS 11.1.1, the three devices charge at 5 watts using Qi wireless chargers, but Apple promised that faster speeds would become available in a future update. It appears that update is iOS 11.2.
MacRumors received a tip about the new feature from accessory maker RAVpower this evening, and tested the new charging speeds to confirm. Using the Belkin charger that Apple sells, which does support 7.5W charging speeds, the iPhone X was charged from 46 to 66 percent over the course of thirty minutes.
At 7.5W, it’s still not as fast as the 15W supported by the Qi 1.2 spec on compatible Android devices, but it’s good progress nonetheless. I wonder if Apple’s upcoming AirPower mat will also max out at 7.5W, or support up to 15W wireless charging for multiple devices.
John Paczkowski of BuzzFeed conducted a fascinating interview with Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller and Johnnie Manzari of Apple's Human Interface Team about the iPhone’s camera. Much of the discussion is focused on the new Portrait Lighting feature available in the 8 Plus and X. As Paczkowski explains,
The camera's effects don't rely on filters. They're the result of Apple's new dual camera system working in concert with machine learning to sense a scene, map it for depth, and then change lighting contours over the subject. It's all done in real time, and you can even preview the results thanks to the company’s enormously powerful new A11 Bionic chip. The result, when applied to Apple scale, has the power to be transformative for modern photography, with millions of amateur shots suddenly professionalized.
Manzari described the extensive process that went into creating Portrait Lighting:
"We spent a lot of time shining light on people and moving them around — a lot of time," Manzari says. "We had some engineers trying to understand the contours of a face and how we could apply lighting to them through software, and we had other silicon engineers just working to make the process super-fast. We really did a lot of work."
BuzzFeed’s article is worth a close read because it’s about more than just the camera in Apple’s new and upcoming iPhones. The behind-the-scenes peek at the development process of the many functions that the iPhone’s camera serves is the best example of one of Apple’s biggest competitive advantages: the fusion of hardware and software.