Counterclockwise: making everything wireless – news

Apples new iPhones support wireless charging a feature that has been slowly gaining popularity in recent years. But the Qi standard has been kicking around the mobile world for about 8 years by this point, pioneered by the Palm Pre smartphone (and the Touchstone charger).

Wireless headphones are nothing new Bluetooth has been able to carry audio since the early days. Apple took this to the extreme with the AirPods, they dont even have a wire connecting the two ear plugs!

But pairing your handset to your headphones can be a pain, what if it can be done wirelessly? Were talking about NFC, of course, first appearing on the Nokia 6131 in 2006. The first Android with NFC was the Nexus S and Apple later adopted the tech but in a restricted fashion.

Apple AirPods
A Nokia wireless charger with NFC

Apple AirPods A Nokia wireless charger with NFC

That would be mobile payments. Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay all work over NFC. The tech is occasionally still used for pairing, but more advanced features like sharing web pages and files rarely see any actual use.

Before Bluetooth or Wi-Fi there was Infrared. It didnt require expensive hardware so it was embedded in many feature phones, allowing them to transfer data (be it files or contacts). But it was slow and only worked in line of sight. The old geeks among us still remember the pain of nudging your phone halfway through sending a huge file (like a single MP3).

Infrared got a second lease on life as an IR blaster, allowing phones to act like remote controls for the tech at home. That feature has been rapidly disappearing though, with smart appliances getting a big marketing push. Alexa, turn on the TV.

Samsung Pay

Samsung Pay Miracast

Of course, were not going to watch broadcast TV, instead well cast the screen of our phone to the TV with Miracast. This was adopted with Android 4.2 and first used in phones like the Nexus 4 and Xperia Z. This feature marked the sharp decline of HDMI ports on phones.

Voice commands have been available on phones for years. Of course, the implementation on feature phones over a decade ago was almost comically bad. A new breed of voice assistants have improved the experience of commanding your phone at a distance Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant and Bixby, everyone seems to have an assistant now.

Apple is trying to make biometric authentication wireless replacing the fingerprint reader you have to touch with FaceID you just look at. What else do you think will go wireless?