The iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max models were rumoured to launch with bilateral charging, also known as reverse charging or two-way charging, but they went on sale with no word from Apple about the feature.
It turns out, however, they might have the feature after all -- sort of.
iPhone surgeons at iFixit are in the middle of an iPhone 11 Pro Max deep-dive teardown and said they found something interesting: Two battery connectors. This could be a sign that bilateral charging was supposed to exist in the phone and could still be coming in a future software update.
Now, according to leaker and former reporter Sonny Dickson, all three new iPhones actually have this hardware. He claimed earlier this week that Apple disabled the feature with software. Dickson, who cited "reliable sources", has a decent track record when it comes to breaking Apple news. He covered AirPower's development challenges early on, for instance.
Reliable sources are saying iPhone 11 and 11 Pro do include the hardware for bilateral charging, but that it is software disabled. Uncertain whether this was removed prior to final production run.— Sonny Dickson (@SonnyDickson) September 13, 2019
The new iPhones were rumored to feature a Qi-based, device-to-device charging, which would've allowed you to charge an Apple Watch, AirPods, and other Qi accessories on the back of the phones. It's very similar to Samsung's Wireless PowerShare feature for the Galaxy S10. However, on the eve before the iPhone 11 debuted, a noted analyst contradicted months of leaks, including his own, by revealing Apple ditched the feature.
The feature was reportedly canned because the charging efficiency didn't meet Apple's requirements. Since Apple may have disabled it on the software end, and not by removing the hardware, one can't help but wonder if the decision was made just prior to the final production run.
The iPhone 11 launched 13 September. Deliveries to customers and in-store availability began 20 September.