Pundits and consumers had high expectations of the annual Apple Keynote, speculating what the team at Apple would bring us, from upgraded cameras, to powerful processors, to increased storage.
These boxes were confidently ticked in California yesterday, but one notable absentee was Apple’s long-awaited wireless charging pad, the AirPower.
Timeline for US tech giants
While there is still no AirPower release date, all three of its new models – a new iteration of the iPhone X with a 5.8in screen dubbed the iPhone XS, the iPhone XS Max and the lower cost iPhone XR – are compatible with wireless charging, showing the tech giant’s commitment to a wireless future.
It’s fair to say that iOS capability has changed – and will continue to change – the way we live, the way we learn, walk, talk and stay in touch. By putting the customer at the centre of everything it does, Apple has built a more personal operating system, which is now an indispensable part of our daily lives.
Apple is enabling experiences that were not possible before. Its new smartwatches, for example, now feature an electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor that can measure not only heart rate but also its rhythm. This is the first ECG product to be offered over the counter. It has also been fitted with an improved accelerometer and gyroscope that can detect if someone has fallen over.
Power is the foundation of technology
What can’t be ignored is that the foundation of this user experience is power. All three new iPhone models are compatible with wireless charging, just like the iPhone 8 and iPhone X before them.
It was, therefore, a surprise to see that Apple did not release its much-anticipated AirPower charging mat, despite first showing off the technology a year ago.
With Apple ceasing to launch its own wireless charging capabilities, it relies on other consumer electronics companies, such as Belkin, to produce Qi charging mats.
Whilst it remains unclear as to why we’re yet to get an AirPower release date, one thing is certain: Apple has signified its industry-wide commitment to a wireless world and it’s one that will redefine consumer expectation on powering-up, forever. Wireless charging is becoming table stakes, the standard expectation of consumers and businesses must wake up to the fact that it is here.
The value in wireless charging
We live in an experience-led society – one where we strive to belong, achieve and pursue ultimate fulfilment – enabled and driven largely by technology and connectivity. Power is the foundation of technology, which will enable businesses to deliver a fully integrated customer experience and influence the customer journey.
This new norm is a monumental shift that provides companies with an opportunity to monetise on power, something that consumers really need.
The deployment of a cloud-managed, smart wireless charging service can increase customer engagement, satisfaction and loyalty, enhancing service and driving revenue. Mass deployment of smart wireless charging is able to access and act on insights that Wi-Fi alone, cannot.
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Wireless charging can also provide value in the workplace, such as triggering a video conference by placing a phone on to a desk with an integrated charging pad.
Since the launch of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X last September, we have seen hoteliers, retail businesses and workplaces rapidly integrate smart wireless charging into their spaces as a response to the growing customer experience.
One global hotel brand has seen a 64% increase in revenue following installation of smart, wireless charging, due to increased footfall and convenience that has created a competitive differentiator.
Smart wireless charging is an opportunity for businesses
Over the past ten years, most brands have focused on addressing their digital transformation to meet the rising needs of today’s connected consumer. Whilst this has been essential, it does mean, however, that many have neglected the growing consumer expectation of delivering a fully integrated customer experience.
Here lies an opportunity for retailers. To deliver an exceptional experience by driving in-store innovation will make the shopping experience easier, faster and more integrated with the growing online shopping and delivery experience.
Apple may not have delivered the AirPower to us yesterday, and we are still waiting for a release date. But it did deliver on innovation and creativity: expansion of its augmented reality function, high-end gaming capabilities and a complex photo-editing function.
Although Apple has extended battery life in each of its new models, it doesn’t stop these applications from being power hungry. People will have an even bigger demand for fast, reliable power on-the-go and wireless charging is the most convenient method for this to be delivered, particularly by those looking to impact and improve customer service.