The Apple Watch Series 6 is officially out, with the latest entry to Apple’s smartwatch lineup adding new features like a blood oxygen sensor and a brighter display. But the company has once again punted on a long-overdue addition to the Apple Watch: support for the universal Qi wireless charging standard.
It’s an incredibly frustrating limitation to the product, one that ensures that you can only use Apple’s chargers to recharge the device. More importantly, it means that you can’t use a standard wireless charging pad, despite the fact that Qi is used almost universally across the tech industry. Even Apple uses Qi charging for its iPhones and AirPods.
Just not the Apple Watch.
Since the original Apple Watch was released in 2015, Apple has used one type of charger: a proprietary magnetic charging puck. And while the company does allow third-party companies to develop their own versions of Apple’s chargers and integrate them into their own products (while paying a licensing fee, of course, to Apple’s Made for iPhone program), today’s Apple Watch cables are virtually unchanged from when they were released five years ago.
The only real change: the addition of a USB-C variant to the lineup in 2018, although it’s still not the cable that Apple includes in the box, despite every single Apple laptop supporting the port standard for nearly all I/O options.
The insistence on sticking to its proprietary charger only gets worse when one considers Apple’s own environmental messaging. Apple proudly announced at its event that it would no longer include USB wall plugs in its Apple Watch boxes (even its luxury Edition and Hermès models) out of a concern over its environmental impact. It’s rumored to be doing the same on this year’s iPhone models.
But if Apple is concerned about the environment, it should also consider the millions of proprietary cables for those products. Apple used to exclusively use MagSafe chargers and Lightning cables across its entire product line, which can’t be used with anything else. But even that has started to change: MacBooks and most iPads use USB-C now; iPhones and AirPods (while still stuck on…