Apple granted U.S. patents for wireless power system

“On Tuesday, Apple received two patents related to wireless power,” Elise Ackerman reports for Forbes. “The patents, which researchers filed more than two years ago, describe a system that would let you power up your mouse, keyboard and possibly iPhone, iWatch, etc. simply by plugging your Macbook Air into a power supply.”

“The idea is that the computer would create ‘a charging region’ that would transfer wireless power ‘to any number of suitably configured devices,'” Ackerman reports. “The technical term for this is near field magnetic resonance or NFMR. It would include an area about one meter wide.”

“Today, if you’re eager to try out wireless charging, you can buy a Duracell Powermat charging case for your iPhone and top off your battery at a nearby Starbucks,” Ackerman reports. “But wireless charging has yet to catch on widely, and that’s why Apple’s new patents are so important. If Apple includes wireless charging capabilities in the next generation of its devices (as is rumored), there’s a high probability other manufacturers will follow suit.”

Read more in the full article here.

23 Comments

    1. After reading this article I was just about to post that about Tesla. Huge Apple fan and also a huge Nichola Tesla fan. Wireless power is where it is at. Imagine a wireless power option in your car or in your home for that matter. No more stupid cables everywhere. its about time. looking forward to it

    2. Well, it’s not fair to say Apple is the ONLY company to use wireless power. But it’s good to see Apple is on that track. They clearly want to improve upon what’s out there now as well as control their own technology, as usual.

      Meanwhile, it’s fun to read and think about Tesla’s original massive wireless power concepts. One could easily imagine Edison adding it to his demonstration of how to fry a dog alive with electricity with EVIL Tesla technology. (Sometimes I wonder how Edison would have rated on the Psychopath Scale, which BTW is an analysis system we have barely begun to study even now).

      1. Going back on subject: Part of the problem with Tesla’s wireless power concepts was its low efficiency. (Note that I’m skipping over the ‘oops, we humans are conductors of wireless power too’ problem). It takes massive EMF to shove electron holes through mere air, which is a relatively poor conductor. Using superior conductors saves a great deal of energy. Thus wires and our efforts with super-conducting materials.

      2. Judging from this patent, it looks like Apple may be the first to bring “wireless” to “wireless charging”. Everything on the market today (i.e., inductive chargers) requires some sort of charging pad or dock, which mostly defeats the purpose.

    1. Maybe an iBeacon/electricity broadcaster device will also be available. Hopefully, the charging distance is five feet or greater. This tech will be a game changer.

      1. It’s probably going to be limited to about a meter. I haven’t read anything to suggest they’re close to delivering a blanket of wireless charging to your living room. Basically, you will have a zone around your computer (and perhaps some standalone charger modules) where your devices may be charged, without unsightly and space wasting pads or docks.

        1. From patentlyapple.com, December 14, 2013:

          “The Korea Electronics Technology Institute (KETI) developed a prototype and successfully demonstrated it. It can transmit 1KW, and this energy can operate motorless TVs (power consumption less than 200~300W), vacuum cleaners (400~500W), robot vacuum cleaners (40~60W), notebooks (60W), humidifiers (40W), electric fans (30W) and smartphones (5W) at the same time.

          Its transmission distance is a little over 3.5 feet, and if the hub, called a ‘relay,’ is installed, the distance can be increased. For this demonstration, two relays were used and electric power was transmitted as far as 12 feet. Theoretically speaking, an unlimited number of relays can be installed in a home.”

          Maybe Apple has developed a similar ‘relay’ to extend the range. It would also be cool if these devices could harvest energy from EMR, e.g. light sources, microwaves, etc., store the energy and transmit the power when necessary.

          1. Technically feasible, perhaps, but it sounds kinda clunky and complex unless these relays were as cheap and simple as an iBeacon.

            I think Apple is more likely to apply the 80/20 rule and release a product that is magically simple and invisible, even if it means a more limited range.

  1. Forbes has gotten to be such a pile of rags rag. Another headline from Forbes this morning reads “Can Apple Halt its Eroding Market Share?” with the article discussing how Apple “lost its ability to innovate.” Didn’t the Red Chinese recently buy Forbes?

  2. I never got the fascination with inductive charging pads like those that come with Lumina phones. What’s the point of dealing with a clunky device like that just to save yourself the benefit of plugging in your phone?

    Apple’s NFMR tech will make today’s inductive charge devices look like artifacts from the Flintstones.

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