The new Qi v1.2 specification will enable wireless charging through even greater spans than before. The current Qi standard is capable of blasting power wirelessly through up to 7mm of space, but the new standard amps that up to 45mm (1.77 inches). This will make it much easier to embed Qi chargers inside of things (like desks, tables, cars, blocks of cheese, etc).
Qi 1.2 chargers and receivers will naturally be backwards compatible with Qi 1.1 devices, though like USB and Thunderbolt they'll fall back to the lesser of the parts involved. Even so, a Qi 1.1 receiver (i.e. the wireless charging-compatible smartphones you can buy today) will be able to participate in power transfer range of up to 30mm.
In the most surprising application, the Wireless Power Consortium says that Qi 1.2 is capable of blasting 2000 watts of resonant energy through the air for powering kitchen appliances — just imagine plopping down your blender on a pad instead of having to plug it in to make smoothies. The 1.2 standard also allows for a single inverter to power multiple coils, which should make for much more affordable multi-device chargers.
Of course, it could be a while before the first Qi 1.2 standard chargers and receivers come to the world. But when they do, you can rest assured that we'll be strapping chargers underneath every flat surface we can find to get our charge on.
Source: Wireless Power Consortium [pdf]
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