Apple Wants Wide-range Wireless iPhone Charging for 2017

| News

Apple is reportedly working on a wireless charging system for the iPhone, but instead of the currently available inductive systems where you set a device on a special plate, the company is looking at sending power wirelessly when our smartphones are in range of a charging point. Assuming Apple gets all the kinks worked out, we could see its wireless charging system debut on the 2017 iPhone models.

Apple working on iPhone wireless chargingApple working on iPhone wireless charging

According to insider sources speaking with Bloomberg, Apple is working with partners in the U.S. and Asia on the project. They're working on ways to prevent power loss over distance, which is a big barrier to moving away from inductive charging plates.

Inductive charging systems create an electromagnetic field through a charging plate that sends power wirelessly through an inductive coupler in the device being charged. Mobee's Magic Charger is a perfect example: it replaces the batteries in your Magic Mouse with an inductive coupler battery pack that charges when you set it on a USB-powered base plate.

Apple is looking at near field magnetic resonance technology that, in theory, will charge iPhones when they're near the charging point without any need to set the phone on a base plate.

Apple could build the charger point into Macs so your iPhone charges whenever you sit down at your computer. That same charger point could also power accessories, like bluetooth keyboards and mice.

The technology is still in the development phase, so there's no guarantee we'll see it in iPhones any time soon despite Apple's push for a 2017 introduction.

Comments

MOSiX Man

Maybe I’m worried about nothing, but part of me wonders what the potential danger would be if one were continuously in close proximity to a device that could generate that powerful of a persistent EM field. Maybe it would be (mostly) harmless to the average person, but what about someone with a pacemaker or other electronics implanted in their bodies (like advanced hearing aids)?

webjprgm

Maybe the hearing aide and pacemaker could be designed to make use of this field too. I’m sure they have some protection against EM interference already, especially the pacemaker. I’d also be curious about exactly how strong this charging field is, compared to standing next to (or driving past) a radio station transmitting tower, a microwave, etc.

Charging my iPhone like this would be nice, but if ALL my gadgets worked this way—especially my Apple Watch but also flashlights, TV remote, fire alarms, laptops, wireless game system controllers, etc.—then we could basically forget about batteries and charging because everything would magically charge itself and constantly be near full charge. (Except when I go camping.)

It would be nice if the range is sufficiently large and works with a standard that all vendors can support. Then we can place a few charging points around the house and voila. (Note that this is like how “magic” devices charge in the Infinity Blade universe. The tech is sufficiently advanced that people stop thinking of it as tech and just use it as magic.)

Lee Dronick

And perhaps also charging the  Watch?

MOSiX Man, my wife has two Cochlear hearing aid implants and she is supposed to avoid strong electromagnetic fields. I am sure that Apple, and others, will test with such medical devices, but yes it is something to consider.

leeeoooooo

Nice! More ‘Tesla tech’!!
Yes, make it more like Wi-Fi, or at least Bluetooth. Simplify iPhone and Watch as well. Maybe even my iPad!

Tesla wanted to broadcast power across the country. I’ll be happy if they can ‘broadcast’ it across my nightstand…

Scott B in DC

I don’t know… how long will it be before Tessla’s Wardenclyffe Tower becomes a reality?

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