Sunday, March 25, 2012

Wireless Charging: Apple Is Missing A Lock-In Opportunity

A big component of Apple's strategy is lock-in. Apple's version of lock-in is somewhat subtler than some--the average Apple customer probably doesn't think "damn, I'm locked in", they just think "hmmm, might be interesting to try Google Music/Android Phone, but I've already got this big investment in iTunes/iOS Apps".

So I'm surprised Apple hasn't targeted wireless charging as a high-potential avenue for lock-in. Wireless charging has been around for a few years, it seems like a clear crowd-pleaser to me. There is a consortium trying to create an industry-standard (Qi), but it seems to be moving very slowly.

I think Apple could swoop in, and make all their devices wireless-chargeable--using a proprietary approach, of course. The wireless-capable batteries would be standard, the profit would come from the external chargers. With their economies of scale and power to move markets, Apple could make it all more affordable than anyone else. Overnight, the huge iOS ecosystem would be committed to Apple's proprietary charging technology, creating one more barrier to Apple users even trying non-Apple products.

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