Apple awarded new patent on wireless charging

By , Aug 7, 2014

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We don’t know if the upcoming iPhone 6 is going to feature wireless charging technology or not, but we do know that Apple is working on it. The Cupertino company has been awarded multiple patents on wire-free charging tech over the years, and today we’re adding a new one to the stack.

The USPTO granted Apple the rights to a new invention this week based on NFMR (or near-field magnetic resonance) technology. NFMR is different from the inductive charging tech used by most manufacturers these days, as it’s capable of wirelessly charging devices up to one meter away…

Here’s an excerpt from the patent filing (via ZDNet):

Various embodiments of a wirelessly powered local computing environment are described. The wireless powered local computing environment includes at least a near field magnetic resonance (NFMR) power supply arranged to wirelessly provide power to any of a number of suitably configured devices. In the described embodiments, the devices arranged to receive power wirelessly from the NFMR power supply can be located in a region known as the near field that extends about a distance D that can be a few times a characteristic size of the NFMR power supply transmission device. Typically, the distance D can be on the order of 1 meter or so.

Much of the patent covers computer systems, where a desktop unit like the iMac has a built-in NFMR power supply that wirelessly powers peripherals like a mouse and keyboard. They would just need a “small form factor wireless power unit,” which Apple says can be as small as a AAA battery.

Here’s WiTricity, which uses similar resonance tech:

Again, NFMR does not require a device to be touching the power supply like Powermat and other existing wireless charging stations do. And as scary as the idea may be, Apple says the technology is completely safe. It’s also scalable, meaning it can be made to power and fit in almost anything.

Keep in mind that just because Apple has been awarded a patent for an invention, doesn’t mean it’l turn up in upcoming consumer products. It’s possible, in fact, that it may never see the light of day. But with wireless charging quickly becoming more mainstream, I’m hoping that won’t be the case.

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  • Noe padilla

    What’s the point of patenting something if they never do it? Just to sue and get money??

    • sdhn97

      shhhhh! how did you know?! :0

    • luckyarcher

      Maybe you need to figure out what a patent is before you comment about it.

      • Noe padilla

        I do know what it is but they never use some patents so what is the point?

      • https://twitter.com/aidanharris1 Aidan Harris

        If you know what a patent is then you know that you don’t need to be using the patent in order to obtain it. If you have an idea you can patent it if no one else has even if you have no plans to use it. Rightly, or wrongly this is the system and is what you can do with it…

    • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

      ‘Cause the patent system allows it…unfortunately.

  • sdhn97

    I can imagine this being a major part of apples homekit thingy. you walk in the house and you’re already charging.

    Or even a “completely” wireless system with iMac. No wires leaving the thing, but if some genius moves the computer too far, there’s a small, but large enough battery to keep the iMac on so it can safely be shut down automatically.

    • Ricky

      Who would want to move a 21″ iMac?

      • sdhn97

        Like i said.. -geniuses-… the kind of people who want to troll.. you get?

      • luckyarcher

        Can people troll themselves by moving a 21″ Mac?

      • sdhn97

        gah. not themselves! other people who would think it’s “funny” to turn someone’s computer off by moving it ;-;

    • Eni

      ||You walk in the house and you’re already charging|| You thing making all the house a magnetic field is a good idea? lol

      • sdhn97

        If, from the article, Apple state this technology is safe, then… sure. Why not install every streetlight with such technology?

      • Eni

        Magnetic field is safe in small areas but not making the entire house a magnetic field.

      • sdhn97

        It’s only 1meter distance anyway… There will be people who will use this tech to make a path from the door to their room or wherever may please them. It’ll still be safe as it’s 1meter. If the intensity increased then fine. But having multiple points (every 2 meters) will be fine.

      • Eni

        Yeah that could be safer, or for example just the work desk ore smth like that.

      • http://www.liam-merlyn.co.uk/ ConduciveMammal

        What would be the point? Power lines for streetlights are all underground, they never move, they’re never unplugged, so there would no need to change them to wireless charging

      • Christopher

        Not wireless charging for the streetlights, dummy, for when you walk by with an iPhone that needs charging…

      • Rowan09

        It wouldn’t be the whole house but a certain area in the house. Besides it would be a small charge.

      • Eni

        Like the work desk or a small desk in the bedroom, that could be done.

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        Check out WiTricity (youtube com/watch?v=XRQ_kJtNB4Q).

    • http://www.liam-merlyn.co.uk/ ConduciveMammal

      This would actually be quite counter-productive, at least for a mobile device. If you keep your device on charge when it’s already fully charged, or if you take it off charge and put it back on repeatedly, this can cause damage to the battery, significantly reducing it’s lifespan

      • sdhn97

        Myth. Google trickle-charging.

  • Chun-Li aka ThunderThighs

    Apple won’t use it until 2017 if anything. Going to stop other smartphone companies from taking it and then call it “innovative”. They won’t show it off until technology starts introducing it commercially to the point the mass here’s about it.

    • luckyarcher

      The “going to stop other smartphone companies” part is known as applying for a patent where intellectual property is safeguarded. You wouldn’t want your hard earned work to be ‘inspired’ by other companies without being offered a royalty, right?

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        And what makes you think others can’t think of it themselves and work faster than you in materializing it? That’s the problem with these patents.

      • luckyarcher

        Permit ‘sluggish behavior’? Do you know how hard it is to come up with an invention in the first place? And one that isn’t covered under the thousands of other similar patents already filed?

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        Yes I know how hard it is to invent something, but a patent doesn’t necessarily mean you invented it, could be just an idea that you claim to be yours without any materialized proof.

        Point is, what if someone else manages to think of that or something similar without seeing your patent, AND materializes it in a product b4 you. You expect them to pay you for their own hard work?

      • luckyarcher

        Umm hmm – Yes, it’s my idea and I’m the one who applied for the patent. If I find out that the product is in production and I’ve not been paid royalty for my idea I’m going to sue the pants off you.

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        Hence proving my point; you remain on your butt (in regards to certain idea/product) while I do my brainstorming and figure out a way to materialize the idea/product, then you come suing me for my own hard work…capitalist pigs.

      • philgin

        That’s why if you have an idea, you apply for a patent. :P

      • luckyarcher

        LOL I’m a capitalist pig when you’re the pig with all the ‘materializing and production’ capability but NO original idea? And you will not pay me royalty for my idea and make money at the same time? Wow, just wow. Beyond delusional.

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        Right, ’cause you patent it first, you think it’s original…you’ll make a great Apple employee and your ideas will probably be as original as Apple’s patents on mag safe, the Computer GUI, Slide to Unlock, Rectangular tablets, etc.

      • luckyarcher

        Patents are not just granted cuz you applied for one (go google how patents are granted in the first place). You’d make a fine Samsung employee who just can’t innovate and would sidestep around patents without even paying a dime for it.(yes, even the slider is an innovation in itself) If you have the brains, conceptualize, develop and patent – in that very order. Don’t bring up your communist propaganda of ‘shameless capitalism’ because you don’t sell stuff for free (if you were altruistic enough to give away your product for free, that’s completely acceptable). Your thieving in the name of ‘brainstorming and figuring out a way to materialize the idea/product’ ain’t fooling no one.

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        Doesn’t seem like patents are granted to inventors most of the time, at least not in America. ‘Cause if that were the case, patents for the mag safe tech, slide to unlock and many other Apple-claimed patents won’t be granted in the first place. I wouldn’t sell my stuff for free, but at least I won’t patent anything when I don’t have a functioning product that utilizes it. ‘Cause I know that I’ll be no better than a patent troll (suing competitors for materializing my ideas b4 me) when I’m getting royalties for a product/idea I didn’t rialize first. Your “it’s my idea” excuse won’t get you a cent from me unless you have functioning device.

    • Adam Bowman

      And it’s kind of a shame. We will have to wait years for this. However, Nikola Tesla figured most of this (technological innovations like this) out many years ago. We are way behind where we should be.

  • Eni

    I don’t think that is completely safe, if it creates a magnetic fild like he says in the video.

    • abhi0n0nakul

      well dont comment if you have no idea about anything..
      MRI is completely safe. which uses many tesla nowadays. and that also creates a magnetic field..

      • Eni

        Well you dont comment either if u dont know anything, i have a private laboratory and have 3 magnetic rezonances, and i fucckking know what are they capable of and how dangerous are they. The are not dangerus for the human itself but for the objects that sorround us, metal. anyway i dont think that this tegnology have those strong magnetic fields like those i have but still, i am skeptic. Anyway maybe i am wrong, but i would never get they in my house without testing them wat they are capable off

      • White Michael Jackson

        I call bullshit. You can’t spell for shit. Your private lab is your toilet.

      • Eni

        Its no need to insult, i’m not an US, or england citizen, i am european, and i am proud that i know english, (for that little bit that i know) and learn it in just 1 year, i am sorry that can’t write or spell as good as you. anyway i bet that you don’t even know 1 foreing language, so gfo and have a nice day :)

  • James Gunaca

    I like the idea of wirelessly charging mice & keyboards and saying goodbye to replaceable batteries (at least more frequently replaced batteries). It’ll reduce waste and be easier on the user. I just hope you won’t have to replace a mouse Wireless Charging battery regularly because they are probably going to be pricey.

  • luckyarcher

    like your parents?