Fast charging or fast chargers are not new to smartphones. The tech has been around for quite some time with Motorola's TurboPower 25 and OnePlus' 25W Dash Charger being some of the earliest examples. But it wasn't until 2019 that we got to see companies push the boundaries of fast charging technology.
While OnePlus renamed its fast charging tech as "Warp Charge" and increased the output by five watts to take it to 30 watts on the OnePlus 6T and OnePlus 7 series, its sister brand Oppo seemed to be using a similar tech on its VOOC charging technology until it stunned everyone when it launched the Oppo Reno Ace that came with a 65-watt SuperVOOC 2.0 charger.
The Reno Ace launched in October 2019 still holds the title of being the fastest charging smartphone till date, charging 0-100% in just over 25 minutes.
Fast charging tech has been a Chinese affair so far
Oppo's off-shoot Realme also supplies a 50W fast charger along with its mid-range Realme X2 Pro flagship and Xiaomi has plans for a whopping 100W charger which we could expect to see later this year. Another Chinese company Vivo is also set to launch its insane 120W charging tech called Super FlashCharge which it claims could charge a 4000mAh battery from 0-100 percent in just 13 minutes flat.
However, the big names or tier 1 manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung are yet to make any inroads into the fast charging tech. While Apple finally offered its 18W charger along with the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, Samsung supplies its 25W fast charger flagships including the recently launched Galaxy S20, S20 Plus and Galaxy S20 Ultra, although the phones are compatible with 45W charging and the company already has a 45W USB-C super-fast charger that it sells separately.
Apple and Samsung finally planning on 65W fast chargers?
It now seems that 2020 could finally be the year when the big guns Apple and Samsung could compete with the Chinese smartphone manufacturers in the fast charging arena, as the two tech titans along with Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo are planning to unveil fast-charging power chargers that will be based on GaN or gallium nitride technology this year, potentially paving the way for support for fast charging up to 65W.
Gallium nitride chargers
GaN chargers are found to be more efficient and smaller in size and require fewer components when compared to standard silicon chargers that are currently in use. The chargers will also be more versatile, meaning that they will be able to charge a broader range of devices over USB-C. In other words, you could use the same charger to charge your iPhone, MacBook and your iPad.
The high cost of manufacturing, which is the case with most emerging tech, is what seems to have kept GaN chargers out of the mainstream but it now seems like companies are working out ways to make the tech cost-effective and make it affordable for consumers.
Xiaomi's GaN charger
According to GizChina, Xiaomi recently released a GaN charger that comes with a USB Type-C interface and supports fast-charging up to 65 watts and charge a Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro fully in 45 minutes. This doesn't seem that fast but it's still faster than the standard charger that comes with the phone.
There were plenty of GaN devices that were showcased at CES 2020, which is also a good indicator that the technology is ready to go mainstream over the course of the year. There are quite a lot of third-party GaN chargers available right now. A good example is Choetech's 61W Wall Charger that is half the size of the original 61W MacBook charger from Apple.
Single versatile charger for iPhone, MacBook and iPad
The original report from IT Home is unclear on what plans Apple might have for the technology, but it does suggest that GaN benefits from its ability to adjust the output automatically depending on the device it is charging. So, there is a possibility that we could see a versatile Apple charging adapter that can charge multiple Apple devices like the iPhone and MacBook.
There's no official confirmation from any of the companies yet, and the report also doesn't seem to give any details about if or when we could expect these new GaN chargers, but we think we'll see them sooner than later as there are existing third-party GaN chargers already in the market.