Inductive charging is all the rage these days. Palm was the first mobile manufacturer to bring ‘magic’ charging to the mainstream with its Palm Pre and Touchstone accessory.

Since then, iPhone case manufacturers have jumped to bring the same kind of functionality to Apple’s smartphone, allowing the handset to be charged by placing it on a mat of sorts. No plugs, no connectors. Magic.

According to a new Apple patent discovered by Patently Apple, the Cupertino outfit may be planning to bring inductive charging to the iPhone in a more practical way, while adding the typical Apple flair to proceedings…

The patent allows for a charging “tower” which will provide the power, but the way the energy gets from the tower to the iPhone is a interesting one.

According to Patently Apple, a user’s earphones will be wrapped around the tower, creating an inductive receiving coil. The earphones then obviously connect to the iPhone and, subsequently, power it.

“Apple’s invention relates to a technique for inductively charging an electronic device which involves winding an audio cable for the electronic device around a charging mechanism multiple times so that one or more conductors in the audio cable form an inductive receiving coil. Next, a magnetic field is created through the charging mechanism to induce a current in the inductive receiving coil. Finally, the induced current in the inductive receiving coil is used to charge a rechargeable battery for the electronic device.”

It’s an interesting approach that Apple is exploring, and we never really thought they’d follow the same conventions as Palm.

As with most of the patents applied for by Apple, there’s no telling whether this will ever see the light of day in a sellable form, but the fact that the company is even looking into inductive charging and its benefits at least shows they recognize that it does indeed have its uses.

Having said that, it didn’t save Palm now, did it?

  • Thatoneguy

    That looks lame

  • James

    This is just a pathetic idea, as if i’m going to wrap my earphones around that to charge my iPhone, considering Apple earphones are shit and it would be so much simpler to plug my phone into the comp .. Who comes up with these things.

    • Chris


    • vince

      agreed. how is this easier? wrapping my ear plugs (that i never use) perfectly around this ugly huge tower is better than docking or just plugging my phone in?

  • Chris

    Wireless charging without the stupid pad to put the phone on would be much better.

  • Mike

    While this patent itself is absolutely ridiculous, the iPhone already has coils: in the actual earbuds! What if all it took was placing the earbuds on a pad?

  • ByteNapple

    They thought way too hard on this one. Way too inconvenient any does not impress me in the least. Wireless inductive charging from a couple meters away on the other hand is the treech I would invest my money in.

  • The Wizard’s Baker

    Fuck that