The United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) this morning issued an interesting patent grant that proves Apple’s been actively thinking about a new kind of dock that would let you charge your iPhone or iPod touch wirelessly, by placing your iOS device in an upright position but also along its other sides…

Apple proposes a new kind of a docking station which incorporates a combination of reradiating antennas to enhance wireless signal integrity, inductive charging circuits and wireless or optical data links.

PatentlyApple details the invention:

The dock housing is configured to receive a handheld device. While the dock housing is shown to receive the handheld device in an upright position, other dock housing configurations for receiving the handheld device along its other sides are also possible.

The biggest “invention” here is the inductive charging mechanism.

The dock housing is further configured to enable charging the battery of the handheld device through an inductive charge coupling mechanism, and to also provide improved wireless communication by integrating the reradiating antenna as shown. The charge circuit is connected between the inductive charge coupling mechanism and a port for receiving power.

While Apple has yet to debut an inductive charging dock for iOS devices, Palm popularized the technology with the original Pre smartphone that came with an optional inductive charging dock called Touchstone.

Past filings indicate that Apple’s been thinking about a wireless charging system for years now, including this awkward tower that gets the energy to an iOS device in a rather peculiar way.

USPTO has also issued other crucial Apple patent grants, some concerning trademark iOS functionality relating to scrolling lists and rotating and resizing content on multitouch displays. All told, Apple scored 27 different patent grants today.

The inductive charger invention is credited to Apple engineers Victor Tiscareno, John Tang and Stephen Zadesky. It was originally filed in the first quarter of 2008 , indicating an unusually long review time.

As it took more than four years to approve this patent, perhaps Apple is serious about implementing inductive charging in a future docking station for iOS devices?

I mean, do you care about inductive charging at all?

  • M_AlO

    Yea, I do care. I like it. But if it took more time to charge an iOS device than the USB then I probably won’t be using it..

  • jose castro

    i want one.. should be cool……. but it will probably be pricey ;(

  • if Apple implements the charging device in such a manner that you could charge multiple devices, with a universal mechanism i think it would be great. For example, if they had something like the powermat, I think it would be a great way to avoid having to buy multiple chargers for the new iphone.

    • I completely agree with you – the charging device should be universal and multi functional to charge many devices, like a BlueTooth Headset.

      Otherwise, it will be another bulky accessory sitting on my desk, and then also, will I need one for my home, office and car? And, then, how about a 2nd one at home, when my wife also needs to charge her iPhone?

      Thinking about it more, I think the current USB cable works just fine, and it is cheap, and down the road it will recycle better being less plastic, wire, etc. to go into a landfill.

  • Meh I prefer usb.

  • The issue with such technology is that it requires more power consumption and time to charge a device wireless than on the conventional way. Total charging time and power will depend on signal frequency.

  • Wasn’t there a rumor that Apple could use magnetic charging in the next iPhone? I don’t remember where.