It is the eve of Apple's next new product event during which we could see the 2019 iPhones, a new Apple Watch, possibly the AirPods 3 and maybe the long-rumored Apple Glasses (in order of probability). But all is not well in the land of Apple fandom. According to 9to5Mac, reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is telling clients that the new phones might not support bilateral wireless charging, better known as reverse wireless charging. The analyst says that Apple could have scrapped the feature because the "charging efficiency may not meet Apple’s requirements."
Reverse wireless charging turns a phone's rear panel into a wireless charging pad. It was thought that the 2019 iPhone models would be able to charge up the AirPods wireless charging case, an Apple Watch, or a compatible phone. The host phone's battery would supply the power, which was why Kuo said earlier this year that the three new iPhones would have larger capacity batteries. The latest rumor has the battery inside the 6.5-inch iPhone 11 Pro Max weighing in close to 4000mAh; that would be the largest battery ever placed inside one of Apple's smartphones. It was last year when the Huawei Mate 20 Pro debuted reverse wireless charging, and the feature is called Wireless PowerShare by Samsung for its flagship Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 lines. While it isn't clear how many iPhone users would have employed bilateral wireless charging, it was considered to be one of the standout new features on the 2019 handsets.
No Pencil support, no reverse wireless charging, but two models will get an 18W charger out of the box
Kuo also says that the rumor about Apple Pencil support for the 2019 iPhone 11 Pro models is fake news. Last month, a case render from manufacturer Olixar showed a case for the iPhone 11 Pro Max that included a sleeve to hold the Apple Pencil; the previous month Citi Research sent a note to clients stating that the new iPhones would come with "support for (an) iPhone pencil/stylus."
The analyst also notes that the size of the notch has not changed from the 2018 models, but all three new iPhones will be equipped with ultra-wide band technology for improved indoor mapping. One thing that Kuo did not discuss was the enhanced protection from water that was mentioned in an earlier leak. This might have referred to a rumored Underwater mode that would allow users to control the touchscreen on a submerged iPhone. Considering that no manufacturer covers water damage in their warranty, we wonder about the usefulness of such a feature.
Render shows the controversial rear camera module on one of the iPhone 11 Pro models
There is some good news in Kuo's report. The 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch iPhone 11 Pro models will both come with an 18W power adapter equipped with a USB-C connector. Up until now, all iPhones shipped with a 5W brick requiring those with a compatible iPhone to spend $29 for the 18W charger. However, those purchasing the 6.1-inch iPhone 11 will still find a 5W charger in the box. Speaking of charging, Kuo says that Apple will stick with the Lightning port this year. This is really no surprise, and we could see a move to USB-C next year. If you're on the fence about upgrading this year, keep in mind that next year's iPhones are supposed to be redesigned with new screen sizes, 5G connectivity, Time of Flight sensors and more.
And while we're wrapping things up, we'd be remiss if we didn't bring up the controversial square camera modules that will house the rear-facing cameras on the new models. Found in the upper left-hand corner of the rear glass panel, the module will carry two cameras on the iPhone 11 (Primary + Telephoto with 2x optical zoom) and three cameras on the iPhone 11 Pro units (Primary + Telephoto with 2x optical zoom + Ultra-wide-angle). Kuo didn't address reports about changes to the rear cameras that will reportedly improve the quality of photographs including those snapped under low-light conditions.
The event starts at 1 pm EDT (10 am PDT) tomorrow, so feel free to check in often for the latest news out of the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino.