Expect wireless charging for Apple iPhone as Starbucks rolls out 100,000 wireless charging pads

By SteveJack

Expect wireless charging for Apple iPhone as Starbucks has just announced the rollout of 100,000 wireless charging pads across the U.S.

My reasoning: Apple’s iPhone is currently the best-selling smartphone in the U.S. with 43% of all smartphone activations. Among other attributes, Apple iPhone customers are in general richer than non-iPhone users, have more disposable income, and the proven will to spend it, including on $4 lattes. Starbucks is not catering to the type of confused customers who settle for Buy One Get One Free knockoffs of revolutionary, paradigm-smashing devices. I’d venture to guess that iPhone users comprise significantly more than 43% of Starbucks customer base in the U.S. Probably closer to 70% than 43%. Suffice to say, the majority of Starbucks U.S. customers use Apple iPhones. And, Starbucks and Apple have a long history of partnerships from multiple iTunes music ventures to e-payments (see related articles below).

When you roll out 100,000 devices across the U.S., you are not doing it to ignore or alienate the majority and the best of your customers, you do it to support them and offer another reason for them to visit your stores.

Bottom line: These moves do not happen in a vacuum. Expect Apple’s next-generation iPhone models to offer wireless charging.

Bottom bottom line: An Apple iWatch could charge wirelessly, too.

Starbucks’ press release follows:

National Rollout of Wireless Charging, by Duracell Powermat, Begins in Starbucks Stores

SEATTLE and NEW YORK – June 12, 2014 – Duracell Powermat and Starbucks today announced that they have begun a national rollout of Powermat wireless charging in Starbucks beginning with stores in the San Francisco Bay Area. The companies will expand Powermat to additional major markets in 2015, with a full national rollout in Starbucks company-operated stores and Teavana Fine Teas + Tea Bars planned over time. Initial pilots in Europe and Asia are expected within the year.

“From WiFi and the in-store Starbucks Digital Network to mobile payment and digital music downloads, we have always tried to anticipate our customers’ needs early in the adoption curve and provide a world-class solution. We are thrilled to offer our customers that next level of convenience with Powermat wireless charging. Rather than hunting around for an available power outlet, they can seamlessly charge their device while enjoying their favorite food or beverage offering right in our stores,” said Adam Brotman, chief digital officer at Starbucks. “We were pleased with the customer response to the pilot tests, and we’re now expanding this offering nationally to provide our customers a quality and reliable experience as they use our stores as their respite, their office away from home or as a gathering place with their friends and family.”

Stores will be equipped with ‘Powermat Spots’ – designated areas on tables and counters where customers can place their compatible device and charge wirelessly. Select Starbucks stores in Boston and San Jose offer Powermat today and the broader rollout can be tracked at www.powermat.com/locations.

“Powermat Spots in Starbucks are the result of almost a decade of scientific research spanning material sciences, magnetic induction and mesh networking,” said Ran Poliakine, CEO of Powermat Technologies. “The two-pronged power-plug dates back to the era of the horse drawn carriage, so that today’s announcement marks the first meaningful upgrade to the way we access power in well over a century.”

Powermat Spots comply with the open standard set by the PMA – whose members include AT&T, Blackberry, HTC, Huawei, LG, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Samsung, TI and ZTE – resulting in a growing universe of devices and accessories that will charge seamlessly in Starbucks.

“Starbucks is a highly regarded global brand and its decision to rollout a Powermat network is both empowering and transformative for consumers and the mobile industry as a whole,” said Jeff Howard, vice president, Mobile Devices and Accessories, AT&T Mobility. “Many of our newer devices have compatible technology either embedded or available as an added feature to give consumers the freedom to charge wirelessly. Today’s announcement marks an important time for our customers – they will have the freedom to stay charged effortlessly in Starbucks stores nationwide over time.”

“Starbucks is transforming the way consumers get power to their phones, in much the same way it made WiFi a standard amenity in public places. This endeavor is a critical step in Duracell’s vision to make dead battery anxiety a thing of the past,” said Stassi Anastassov, President of Duracell at Procter & Gamble. “When Starbucks introduced WiFi in their stores in 2001, 95 percent of devices didn’t have WiFi, and multiple standards hampered the industry. The rest is history. Starbucks plans to offer Powermat nationally is likely to settle any lingering standards question, and usher wireless power into the mainstream.”

About Duracell Powermat

Duracell Powermat is the joint venture between Procter & Gamble’s Duracell brand and Powermat Technologies. Duracell Powermat provides real-life power solutions for consumers both at-home and on-the-go at select retailers and at www.duracellpowermat.com. As part of the Procter & Gamble Company, Duracell has been powering people around the world for more than 40 years. Powermat Technologies is a pioneer and leader of the wireless power industry, and its technology forms the basis of the open standard set by the PMA – the platform of choice for such global leaders as AT&T, DuPont, Duracell, General Motors and Starbucks. To learn more please visit www.powermat.com, and follow Powermat via Facebook, and Twitter.

About Starbucks

Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting high-quality arabica coffee. Today, with stores around the globe, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup. To share in the experience, please visit us in our stores or online at www.starbucks.com.

Source: Starbucks

SteveJack is a pen name used by a long-time Macintosh user, web designer, multimedia producer and a contributor to both MacDailyNews Takes and the Opinion section.

Related articles:
Because of Steve Jobs’ first public iPhone call, Starbucks still gets orders for 4,000 lattes – March 4, 2013
How to add your Starbucks card to Apple’s Passbook app – October 4, 2012
Starbucks exec: Android apps often ‘watered down’ – May 16, 2011
Starbucks customers can now make purchases at 1,002 U.S. Target locations via iPhone and iPod touch – March 30, 2010
Starbucks and Apple offer free music and videos with ‘Pick of the Week’ promotion – April 15, 2008
Apple and Starbucks launch iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store in 360 Bay Area locations – November 9, 2007
Review: Apple’s iTunes Wi-Fi music store with Starbucks integration – October 2, 2007
Digital Music ‘Now Playing’ at Starbucks with launch of Apple’s iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store on Oct. 2 – September 25, 2007
Starbucks to give away 50 million free Apple iTunes songs – September 24, 2007
Apple and Starbucks announce music partnership; wirelessly find and buy music at Starbucks – September 5, 2007
Apple adds Starbucks Hear Music catalog on iTunes Store – October 5, 2006

NFC, wireless charging, improved LTE rumored for Apple’s ‘iPhone 6′ – June 9, 2014
Apple’s ‘iWatch’ to arrive in October 2014 with wireless charging, sources say – December 13, 2013
Apple granted U.S. patents for wireless charging system, new Mac Pro, Apple TV and more – December 3, 2013
Apple patent application reveals iPad Smart Cover with built-in inductive charging – March 14, 2013

20 Comments

  1. I live in Toronto. They just finished remodelling my nearest outlet. It’s probably the newest Starbucks on the continent right now. When they open the doors, we’ll see if this is also happening here.

  2. Apple will never support wireless charging. It’s inefficient, adds bulk and precludes the use of metallic cases. It’s just not in Apple’s DNA to do something that goofy. Leave it up to Samsung to slap huge coils on the backs of their phones, it’ll look good on the spec sheet.

    If Starbucks wants to charge iPhones wirelessly, they’ll have to supply add-on cases.

    1. Wireless changing requires significant area of radio-transparent material. I am not sure how it could work if iPhone 6 is still going to be made of metal. Of course, there will be radio-transparent seams on the back as well as fully radio-transparent front, but, as of now, there was no single phone that supports wireless charging solely through the front. Maybe Apple’s will be the first one, but I doubt. And yes, wireless charging usually makes devices thicker.

    2. Ahh, but you forgot the competition to iPhone, which only needs charging once a day.

      Samsung’s phones aren’t as good on battery life, so they need charging 2 x a day.

    3. I agree with most of your sentiment, and initially I also thought “yea, metal phones, I don’t want Apple to start using plastic again in their flagship models.” But, what if the phone was designed more like and iphone4, but instead of glass, used Sapphire… Problem solved? Apple did just open those furnaces out in the desert…

      1. Sapphire is great as a coating for scratch resistance but I don’t know if Apple will make the whole screen out of sapphire or just use a thin layer. Synthetic or not, sapphire is expensive.

        Sapphire, while extremely hard, is also brittle. I don’t think a iPhone 4/4s type design made with sapphire would be that much more durable than glass. There are some pretty durable ceramics that might work though.

  3. It’s a marketing ploy. Starbucks provides the capability to encourage people to buy the charging cover. Just like them playing iTunes in the store. Starbuck will receive money or get the system for no charge.

  4. So, Starbucks is going to roll out 100,000 community thief pads providing an easier way for those with sticky fingers to separate you from your smart phone.
    This is not an iPhone vs. Android comment, just a Starbucks comment.

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to leave out Windows and BlackBerry phone users. They’re important too . . . oh, who am I kidding. 😉

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