- FCC filing indicates the existence of a reverse-charging unit on all iPhone 12 models.
- This could be useful for charging the next-gen AirPods, AirPods Pro, or the rumored AirTags.
- None of this is certain, and even if the system is functional, it could remain disabled.
A recent filing at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) hints at the existence of a hidden reverse wireless charging feature on the iPhone 12 series, which Apple hasn’t told the public anything about.
Considering the relatively small battery capacities of iPhone 12, this shouldn’t be for charging other smartphones, but it could very easily be used for charging the new AirPods or even the upcoming AirTags. If that’s true, the surprise “wow” moment of the new AirPods launch may have just been spoiled, but for better or worse, this is the way tech news work.
According to the details that surfaced, all iPhone 12 models have a 360 kHz charging function that can recharge accessories, but it is disabled right now. This also means that activating the system will be a matter of an OTA update, which will be released after the new AirPods are unveiled to the world.
Speaking of which, the entry-level AirPods 3 and the higher-range AirPods Pro 2 are expected to land sometime in 2021, so there’s nothing to expect over the next couple of months. The rumors that accompany the upcoming wireless earphones by Apple include a shorter stem, replaceable ear tips, improved battery life, and a rounder shape on the part that enters the user’s ear.
For Apple’s engineers, pushing things to make the AirPods even smaller than what they already are while still delivering sound quality, battery life, and speech recognition will be very challenging. That said, maybe none of the above aspirations will pass to the final product, and the size of the new AirPods may not be smaller from what it is on the current generation.
iPhone 11 had a sub-system that resembled something like an incomplete reverse-charging unit, which baffled the iFixIt technicians who discovered it. The ability to charge the AirPods with iPhone 11 was rumored but didn’t come to fruition, so whatever was found inside the device’s guts was experimental. This time though, it is far more likely that the system is functional, although we still can’t say for sure until Apple decides to activate it.