The new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max are rumored to include hidden hardware — which Apple hasn't announced yet but could later activate with a software update — that would allow the devices to wirelessly charge other gadgets like AirPods or the Apple Watch.
Tech blogger Sonny Dickson, who has a strong track record for publishing Apple secrets and leaks, alleged on Twitter Thursday that "Reliable sources are saying iPhone 11 and 11 Pro do include the hardware for bilateral charging, but that it is software disabled."
Bilateral charging was heavily rumored to be a feature of the iPhone 11 lineup in the months leading up to their release, but Apple did not announce the feature on stage during its September 10 event. In theory, bilateral charging would allow users to charge accessories like Airpods or Apple Watch using their iPhone. All they would need to do is rest an accessory on the back of their smartphone, charging it wirelessly.
If iPhones do have the hardware capacity for bilateral charging that's currently disabled by software, Apple could theoretically roll out the feature with an iOS update in the future, enabling it on devices overnight.
In April, reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo correctly reported that the new smartphones would include a larger batter, which Kuo said could allow for bilateral charging. Apple touted the strength of the new batteries during its keynote Tuesday but did not make any indication that they are capable of bilateral charging.
The new lineup of iPhones includes another design tweak that some see as a clue about bilateral charging: the Apple logo on the back of the three new phones is centered halfway down the phone, while past models featured the Apple logo on the phones' upper half. Some have speculated that the new location of the Apple logo is meant to signal to users where to place accessories for wireless charging.
An Apple spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.