AllThingsD reports that Starbucks is expanding its experimental wireless charging program to the West Coast. The program will roll out at 10 stores in the San Jose area in August.
It introduced the program in a number Boston-area stores using Duracell Powermats, a PMA-standard wireless charging mat which allows those phones with compatible Duracell cases to simply rest it on the mat to receive power. The cases retail for about US$35 for the iPhone 4 and 4S and $50 for the iPhone 5, and AllThingsD adds that Starbucks and Duracell have been giving away sleeves to frequent customers.
AllThingsD draws attention to the competing standards for wireless charging technology, but Apple will most likely be another keen observer as the program unfolds in the San Jose area. It published a patent for wireless charging technology in November 2012, and experiments by third-party case makers with wireless charging stretch back to 2009. If anyone has the ability to standardize wireless charging, it's Starbucks. If Apple develops a phone that does wireless charging in compliance with the PMA standard, combined with Starbucks' program, it could go mainstream very quickly.