Apple seeks patent for inductive charging technology

Posted on Sep 27 2012 - 4:46pm by Phalgun Shenoy

Steve Jobs had once famously said that the iPhone’s 3.5 inch touchscreen was the perfect size for consumers. It was said that 3.5 inch was the “sweet spot”, big enough to produce detailed, legible graphics, but small enough to fit comfortably in the hand and pocket, and Apple had been reluctant to swerve from its founder’s vision since the smartphone was unveiled back in 2007. Things have changed recently and Apple has realized that a bigger screen is needed for its product since the competition is leaning more towards bigger screen sizes, and hence iPhone 5 was launched with a bigger and taller 4” Retina display.

iPhone 5 is a great device, but not revolutionary. Evolutionary, yes. The new generation iPhone has better hardware, but that’s just an evolutionary bump in the technology. Apple may be the king when it comes to software, but in terms of hardware, the competition has got more. The new iPhone doesn’t have NFC chip, whereas many mid range Android phones are shipping with NFC chips these days. Nokia’s Lumia 920 has got wireless charging. Wireless inductive charging isn’t a revolutionary technology as such as many Chinese products such as hair trimmer and the likes have been using the system for over a decade. It’s a very old technology indeed, but not many phones use it. Palm Pre was available with an optional inductive charging dock, and it’s a great piece of technology, not to mention the convenience it adds.

Despite the practicality, Apple has not included it in the latest iteration of its best selling product, the iPhone. May be they wanted to keep some technology in reserve for the next generation iPhone, and it’s highly possible because a patent filing from 2011 suggests that Apple might be working on a solution of its own. Having seen how Apple works to polish existing technology in order to make a shiny new attractive solution, Apple’s technology may actually be more interesting than what Nokia is offering in its new Lumia 920 Windows Phone 8 smartphone.

“Having to create another device you have to plug into the wall is actually, for most situations, more complicated,” Apple’s marketing head Phil Schiller explained at Apple’s iPhone 5 unveiling.

The above comment by Apple’s Phil is in regards with Nokia’s technology which allows the user to charge one supported device wirelessly using an additional accessory. Going by Apple’s patent, the company is planning to build a charging dock kind of solution which is capable of charging multiple devices at once.

The wireless charger will also be capable of indicating how the device is placed and select appropriate actions based on the orientation of the device. The patent filing that was filed in March 2011 is called “Device Orientation Based Docking Functions,” and explains how physical orientation of the device on the dock changes the behavior of the phone. We can anticipate to see this technology in Apple’s next generation of iPhone, the iPhone 6. What are your thoughts on this? Let us know using the comment form below.

Source: AppleInsider

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