What it is: Apple announced a wireless charging option called AirPower that requires a glass backing for the iPhone.
Apple endorsed a wireless charging standard called Qi, which will allow makers of rival devices to use the same wireless charging standard. This will be useful to insure that the Qi wireless charging standard becomes commonplace in airports, restaurants, libraries, and other public places.
One key feature of wireless charging is that it works best with glass. Metal cases can block the charging process where you place a device on a charging mat. That means the future of the iPhone will be glass that’s strong enough to act as a case even if dropped.
Earlier iPhones used glass and proved somewhat fragile, but now with wireless charging a reality, glass will be absolutely necessary to allow wireless charging. Of course the real key to wireless charging will be to charge a device without laying it on a charging mat at all. Instead, just putting a device near a wireless charger will be able to charge that device.
However, that type of wireless charging is probably a few years off. In the meantime, everyone has to adopt there Qi wireless standard to maintain compatibility with everyone else. Wireless charging is slightly more convenient than a power cable but not by much. When true wireless charging arrives, expect glass to remain the covering of choice simply because it allows wireless charging while metal cases will not and plastic cases look too cheap.
Apple’s AirPower wireless charging option will be a mat that can charge an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods. That all works only with the latest versions of each device such as the newest iPhone 8 and Apple Watch Series 3.
So expect glass to remain the dominant covering for the iPhone and expect wireless charging to become more popular with each passing iPhone model. Right now it’s not that big of a deal since you still need to plug in the wireless charging mat, but when wireless charging won’t require a charging mat at all, then you’ll know wireless charging will have fully arrived and that means glass will always be the back covering of the iPhone.