Apple patents inductive charging pad with orientation-based device docking functions

“The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday granted Apple a patent for switching docking functions, such as data syncing, diagnostics or charging, based on the orientation of a device while laying on an inductive charging pad,” Mikey Campbell reports for AppleInsider.

“According to the document, a device’s orientation on the charging mat determines what function will be carried out by the system,” Campbell reports. “Examples of different orientations include rotational position, determination of whether the device face-up or face-down, relative position compared to another device and position in alignment with certain coordinates, among others.”

“In one embodiment, a user places a device face-down — display side down — on the mat. In this case, the system would provide inductive charging to the device. Alternatively, when the device is face-up, both data syncing and charging may be performed,” Campbell reports. “Interestingly, the patent also mentions that the charging surface may be built into a host device like a laptop computer. This particular implementation would be well suited to charging smaller electronics like iPhones and the much-rumored ‘iWatch.'”

Much more, including Apple’s patent application illustrations, in the full article here.

Related article:
Apple said to be studying inductive, kinetic, and solar charging for ‘iWatch’ – February 3, 2014


  1. Inductive charging results in transmission losses that you don’t get over a wired connection. Some of these losses are translated to heat which is inimical to electronic devices as well as shortening the life of the battery charge cycle.

    Apple will also have to think about including a charging mat which will add bulk to the packaging. It also takes longer to charge the device as compared to a wired charger.

    All in all inductive charging is a good idea that is difficult to put into practice.

  2. The other issue with inductive charging is that a plate is not practical in a car as the device will slide off. On the other hand a dedicated car cradle with inductive charging built in would be extremely convenient.

  3. Hopefully they have considered a design that will not run afoul of prior inductive systems like for example Palm’s inductive charger that had a feature that affected the device depending on the vertical or horizontal orientation in which the charging Treo was placed.

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