It would be an understatement to say that expectation of the Apple Keynote was high. Media pundits, industry bodies and consumers speculated around-the-clock on what the team at Apple would bring us – upgraded cameras, powerful processors and increased storage, perhaps. It was no surprise that these boxes were confidently ticked in California on Wednesday with the launch of a trio of iPhones and upgraded smartwatches – 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.
What was made abundantly clear is that Apple is enabling experiences that were not possible before – its new smartwatches now feature an electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor which can measure not only heart rate but also its rhythm (the first ECG product to be offered over the counter) and has also been fitted with an improved accelerometer and gyroscope that can detect if someone has fallen over.
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 with the people we love. By putting the customer at the center of everything it does, Apple has built the most personal operating system, which is now an indispensable part of our daily lives.
What can’t be ignored is that the foundation of this user experience (UX) is power. All three new iPhone models, just like the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, are compatible with wireless charging, so, it was a surprise - it seems for everyone - to see that Apple chose not release its much-anticipated AirPower charging mat (despite first showing off the technology a year ago). It’s a decision that has left the press in a state of speculation - has Apple tried to quietly kill its AirPower, did it make a rare blooper, is the team working on something even more monumental?
Either way, with Apple ceasing to launch its own wireless charging capabilities, it relies on other consumer electronic companies, like Belkin, to produce Qi charging mats.
Whilst it remains unclear as to why the AirPower has taken so long to come to market, there’s one thing for 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.
We live in an experience-led society - one where we strive to belong, achieve and pursue ultimate fulfillment - 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 insight that Wi-Fi alone, cannot.
Since the launch of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X last September, Chargifi’s pipeline has grown 800 per cent, as we see 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 per cent increase in revenue following installation of smart, wireless charging, due to increased footfall and convenience that has created a competitive differentiator.
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 – delivering 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, 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.
Apple, we applaud you and your commitment to the wireless world and if one thing is for sure, we are all waiting with bated-breath for the launch of your wireless mat.