When Starbucks originally introduced wireless charging pads in its stores, it had partnered with a company called Powermat to supply them. The charging standard being used was PMA which was already supported on a number of devices and has since sprouted onto more and more. But most people who visit Starbucks (and let’s be honest here for a second) have an iPhone, and this year’s iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X all support wireless charging. The problem is these handsets sport the Qi wireless standard and not PMA. This could spell trouble for Starbucks’ efforts to supply a modern way of charging your phone, but luckily, the way these systems are set up, a simple software upgrade can resolve the dilemma.
According to SlashGear who spoke to Powermat’s CTO, the systems installed in Starbucks locations across the country are designed to be as generic as possible. This allows the company to push out new software to support any new or different wireless charging standards – if possible – such as Qi, PMA, and Samsung’s Wireless Fast Charging. Therefore, despite the charging pads originally offering PMA wireless charging, they can be updated over the air to support Qi wireless charging and let anyone who walks in with an iPhone 8 or iPhone X charge up.
Since Qi isn’t exclusive to the iPhone, any other phone that exclusively supports Qi wireless charging can also be charged at Starbucks. So really, Powermat is doing not only iPhones a favor but others as well.
Of course, iPhone 8/X buyers will get the most out of this update since it’s the first time an Apple product supported such a charging standard, so accommodating the devices’ hardware was inevitable, whether that meant swapping all the charging pads out for new ones or just updating the existing pads’ software. So in a nutshell, if you were worried you couldn’t spend $6 on a Pumpkin Spice Latte this fall and charge your new $1,000 iPhone wirelessly at the same time, you can sleep easy tonight knowing this issue has been resolved.