We’re all used to seeing Apple revolutionize industries with exciting new (or reimagined) technology. The company often sets new standards, becoming the de facto company rivals compare their products against – just see footage from Microsoft’s recent Surface event to see how many times Apple products were mentioned. But what Apple doesn’t do is jump on a new technology, especially for the iPhone, until it’s truly ready for primetime.
Apple stays out of hardware wars with other smartphone makers when it comes to screen size, camera megapixels, mobile chip cores and RAM, choosing to roll out updates in each area once the tech is up to its standards. And the same thing might be said of battery technology, because Apple is working on what could end up being a huge innovation.
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It’s not often that one can get excited about proposed tech that might never see the light of day, but if you’ve been following the mobile landscape for as long as I have, then the following patent will definitely impress you: A new Apple patent application first seen by Apple Insider describes ways of bringing inductive charging to the iPhone without any extra hardware.
Let that sink in for a second.
What that means is that not only will Apple be able to include wireless charging tech in future iPhones while further shrinking down their thickness – since no extra internal components would be needed – but the company might also be able to enable the feature on older iPhones and iPads, thus solving any potential battery issues users with previous-generation iOS devices.
The proposed technology takes advantage of electrical coils already found in speakers, microphones and haptic engines to turn them into electricity-conducting wireless charging elements. The patent seems to suggest that Apple could bring the feature to various products in its lineup that have these components, not just iOS devices, assuming certain criteria are met.
One of the conditions would likely be pairing a device with a dock solution that would enable wireless charging by making contact with various regions of a gadget. For an iPhone, the dock would need to target the speaker and microphone coils to start wireless charging, Apple Insider notes. The Inductive power transfer using acoustic or haptic devices patent application suggests that these components would be able to perform their default duties while simultaneously charging a device.
On the other hand, this proposed system might not be that efficient when it comes to power transmission, as the coils in existing devices are quite small. Also, it’s not clear whether the technology would require particular types of microphones or speakers to handle power transmission, in which case the technology would not be backward-compatible with older iPhones.
Furthermore, as is the case with any other Apple patent, there’s no guarantee that Apple will use this wireless charging technology in the future. However, the patent confirms Apple’s interest in bringing in the wireless charging tech to its products without compromising on design.