On Monday 9th March, Apple launched its new flagship wearable product, the Apple Watch. The device is equipped with inductive charging technology, based around Apple’s proprietary MagSafe charging solution.
IHS predicts that Apple will ship an estimated 18 million Apple Watches in 2015, driving the increase of inductive (closely-coupled) wireless charging solutions within wearable technology in the short-term future.
In the last five years, wearable technology has seen a surge in releases of fitness and wellbeing applications, and infotainment applications in particular. Wearable technology is currently one of the most compelling emerging markets for wireless charging - IHS forecasts that over 200 million wireless charging-enabled receiver and transmitter units will be shipped into the wearables market in 2019, generating over $1billion in revenue in that year alone.
A large proportion of this growth will come from activity in the smartwatch market, of which, potentially the most high profile and high potential example is the Apple Watch. The smartwatch is scheduled to ship from 24th April this year, using Apple’s proprietary MagSafe inductive charging solution. The charger includes a magnet which helps to correctly align the watch and hold it in place whilst inductive charging takes place – but IHS does not expect this to be certified to either Qi or PMA standards.
Whilst the accessory market is likely to develop further charging options for the Apple Watch, the decision not to implement either Qi or PMA standards means that for at least the short-term future, Apple Watch users will not be able to benefit from the recent increased adoption of closely-coupled infrastructure, such as McDonalds inductive charging tables, new Starbucks inductive charging tables, or upcoming IKEA wireless charging furniture.
With the increasing adoption of wireless charging in big name consumer devices such as the recently announced Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, the wireless charging industry is developing rapidly in 2015. Strong revenue growth for the overall wireless charging market is projected to accelerate during the next two years, driven by major adoption in mobile phone handsets and wearable devices.
More analysis from IHS: Wireless Power Intelligence Service