It's becoming increasingly likely that new iPhones will charge wirelessly — perhaps as soon as this year.
Apple confirmed to CNBC on Monday that it has joined the Wireless Power Consortium, "to be able to participate and contribute ideas to the open, collaborative development of future wireless charging standards."
Apple said its membership in the consortium is just one of many to "standards development organizations." But it comes as wireless charging is the next big area of competition for smartphones.
Samsung already sells wireless charging pads compatible with its Galaxy S7 edge. Vicky Yussuff, analyst at IHS Technology, said at least one major mobile phone handset manufacturer will likely announce a new phone with wireless charging at The Mobile World Congress in two weeks.
Apple is likely working on its own wireless charging technology, based on numerous patents it has filed, though the company is notoriously secretive when it comes to its intentions with new products.
Noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted last week that Apple has 3 new wireless charging iPhones scheduled for this year.