The next iPhone might feature an array of internal magnets within its chassis, similar to the iPad Pro, possibly hinting that Apple may be working on an overhauled Qi wireless charger that might use those magnets to snap the phone in place when on the charger.
The images you see in this article were originally shared on Chinese social network Weibo, with EverythingApplePro republishing them on Twitter this morning. These unverified photographs of the claimed component show a circular array of 36 individual magnets that will allegedly be housed inside the chassis of the named iPhone 12.
Yup. Official iPhone 12 cases will also have this magnet system built in. Likely for perfect alignment with Apple's wireless chargers. pic.twitter.com/eDEQ474NIX
— EverythingApplePro (@EveryApplePro) August 5, 2020
One possible explanation is that the magnets might be used to help people mount their phone onto compatible accessories, like dedicated camera flash attachments or external lenses. However, the placement of the magnets near the center of what would be the iPhone 12 chassis suggests that the component might indeed be used for wireless charging.
This is roughly the same spot where the internal charging coil is found in iPhones. Apple had been working for at least two years on a multi-device wireless charger capable of juicing up to three devices at once, but ultimately abandoned the project.
The so-called AirPower accessory was plagued with a range of engineering challenges, including overheating, because Apple was keen on creating a wireless charging mat that didn’t require precise device placement. But according to the image above posted by serial leaker Jon Prosser, Apple mays have prototyped a revised AirPower charging mat.
“The project is back on, internally,” he said. “No guarantee that they’ll finalize and release it, but they haven’t given up yet and they’re trying to re-engineer the coils to displace heat more effectively. Prototyping is underway.”
On the other hand, Jon’s image of the alleged wireless charging prototype may have turned out to be fake, according to Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman.