The concept of wireless charging is one that has been pumped around Apple’s rumor mill for a long time now, due to several patents filed by the company that describe ways to utilize the technology. It seems, then, that Apple is just as excited about wireless (AKA ‘inductive’) charging as us mere speculators.
Another patent application from Apple has surfaced today, this time depicting something of an Apple branded ‘juice pack’, that so many accessory manufacturers currently sell. What’s different about Apple’s is the size (and wireless charging, but I’ll get to that).
Most battery cases or portable power bricks are just that; big, clunky, brick-like contraptions that add twice an iPad’s weight to your tablet, not what you want with Sir Jony Ive’s slick, slim designs. Fortunately, should Apple’s latest patent application make it onto a product, then we could see something as simple as an iPad Smart Cover delivering your portable juice.
The cover would utilize inductive charging to be as seamless as possible, without the need to attach to your device’s dock, as the power would be delivered to your device through its Smart Cover, when the cover is closed and the device is ‘sleeping’.
The battery for the charger is, in the patent description, within the folds of the cover, meaning the technology could, if developed far enough, be implemented into the design of the current Smart Cover, meaning no more added bulk would be necessary.
In addition to all the existing cleverness, the iPad would even determine when it needs more power, so to not waste the cover’s battery by continuing to charge the device when it is already fully topped up.
Of course, the cover would also need to be charged through a normal AC adapter, but Apple even seems to be looking into ‘green’ charging, through solar panels on the Smart Cover.
The accessory would require a new iPad model to be released, supporting inductive charging, but we’ll be waiting a while before we see a version of this technology ready for the consumer market, even though several third party companies are already selling inductive charging units, however, these are not portable, and do not work without a bulky case on your device.
It should be noted that this patent was in-fact filed in September 2011, so take that to mean whatever you want. Either Apple has abolished the idea, is waiting for the technology to develop, or, if you’re optimistic, the company is very close to releasing the accessory. Obviously, we don’t know yet, but there’s no harm in speculation, right?
What do you think about wireless charging? Is it an awesome development or a stupid gimmick? Leave your opinions in the comments below.