Next-gen MacBook could wirelessly charge 2013 iPhones, iPads

Chip giant Intel is working on a new technology for its 2013 Ultrabook portable platform that is said to incorporate wireless charging between notebooks and mobile devices, per a new report out of Asia based on sources from the upstream supply chain.

As MacBooks use Intel’s chips, Apple could adopt this upcoming technology from Intel to enable wireless charging between future MacBooks and your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch…

Asian trade publication DigiTimes notes that Japan’s carrier NTT Docomo and consumer electronics giant Sharp both previously launched smartphones with wireless charging functions that meet the Wireless Power Consortium’s (WPS) Qi standard, though high prices and reliability issues prevent their solution from being mainstreamed.

Samsung also wanted to debut a resonance wireless smartphone charger in June, but had to delay the project into 2013 as performance still needs some improvements.

As for Intel’s technology, DigiTimes explains:

Intel’s wireless charging solution uses an ultrabook as the power source paired with related software and a transmitter to wirelessly charge a smartphone. According to Intel’s data, the solution will feature lower power consumption and does not require the phone to be put in a very specific position.

While DigiTimes’ track record with Apple rumors leaves a lot to be desired, the publication is typically accurate with supply chain news like this one.

Intel’s solution is “expected be seen in just a few models in the second half of 2013”. Apple typically gets preferential treatment from Intel and often exclusively debuts the chip maker’s latest advancements in its computers.

However, Apple is also known for intentionally disabling certain hardware features. Still, there is a chance that a 2013 MacBook Air could feature Intel’s chipset with wireless charging technology to enable wireless charging between your Mac notebook and the next year’s lineup of iOS devices.

The report notes that Intel already has software developed for this technology which supports power charging equipment examination, smartphone charging control and equipment position tests.

This would presumably make Apple’s job even easier should the company decide to deploy this technology.

Cupertino’s been researching various aspects of wireless charging techniques, such as inductive charging. Apple typically registers patents for a bunch of different things, but many of them never see the light of day so those patent filings only mean that Apple is, or was, thinking about wireless changing.

Coincidentally or not, The Wall Street Journal reported a year ago that Apple was experimenting with “a new way of charging the phone”.

Do you think wireless charging is a useful feature or just a gimmick?

The above image is credited to MacGasm.