Apple has patented a technology that will provide a solution to the problem of your iPhone running out of battery when you are on the move. The technology is seen to leverage wireless charging to transfer power from a mobile device to another. The patent essentially involves a wireless charging coil that will pass current bi-directionally. This means, in theory, future iPhone models could be charged with an iPad or a MacBook, if Apple intends to go ahead with its patented plans. Additionally, the patent reveals another option of multiple charging points that can transfer power, for instance, from a MacBook to an iPhone and an Apple Watch.
As per the Apple patent, published by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on July 26, the “inductive charging between electronic devices” lets two devices, such as a tablet and a smartphone, to charge each other’s batteries using their existing charge. This method will reduce the need to carry a cable and an adapter with you and instead use the second device as a power bank when required. First spotted by AppleInsider, the filing with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the patent application was filed on March 19, and is a continuation of earlier patent application from June 2015 and September 2014.
As mentioned, the technology stated in the patent application introduces the use of inductive coils, which are used to perform wireless charging. But, the difference lies in how the wireless charging will work here. The same inductive coils will now be used to transmit as well as receive power.
According to the image provided in Apple’s patent, an iPhone can be placed in the centre of an iPad, with the phone’s rear charging coil placed facing the iPad’s display. The patent also has images that hint at the use of such coils in MacBooks, including the potential points where they can be installed. As mentioned earlier, there could also be multiple coils on larger devices enabling more than one devices to be charged simultaneously.
The AppleInsider report mentions that it Apple wants to incorporate the new wireless charging feature, it will have to change the setup of the coils to be able to switch between transmitting and receiving mode. This essentially means that there will be a requirement of changing the hardware since the current generation of iPhone models can only receive power. The alternative method could be to use multiple coils, where one set would receive power and the other would transmit power.
It remains to be seen if Apple will release such a technology at all, as there has been no word on it from the company. Most of the times companies use patent filings to secure a particular design for their future products. It is up to the companies to keep or discard them. But, shared wireless charging feature on these future devices could become a popular feature.