Your iMac might someday provide wireless power to nearby iOS devices and peripherals

Your iMac might someday provide wireless power to your iPhone, iPad, and other devices. Apple has filed for a patent (number 9,466,989) for “wireless power utilization in a local computing environment.”

The wireless powered local computing environment — that would be the iMac — 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.  The devices receiving power wirelessly from the NFMR power supply must be located in a region known as the near field that extends no further than a distance of about 3.28 feet. 

Obviously, you couldn’t roam the house with this limited distance. However, iPhones and iPads near your Mac could be charged wirelessly. And Magic Trackpads, Magic Keyboards, and Magic Mice would always be charged in this scenario.

Exactly what changes would need to be made to an iMac to make this happen is unclear. It might have to put on a little weight (sorry, Jony Ive). Or Apple could make its NFMR power supply a standalone device. Of course, if the power supply were part of the iMac, it would further integrate the Apple ecosystem and could spur sales of the all-in-one.

Apple has also been granted a patent (number 9,466,653) that could lead to future iPhones, iPads and Macs with screens that go from edge-to-edge and perhaps top-to-bottom without bezels. The patent is for "electronic devices with display-integrated light sensors.

In the patent filing, Apple says that, in a typical mobile device, a light sensor is laterally displaced from an active display region of the display along a front face of the device. Additional space is provided in common devices at the top, bottom, or side of the active display area to accommodate the light sensor. 

Apple says this can result in “an undesirable increase in the size and weight of the device” and that “if care is not taken, displays may be bulky or may be surrounded by overly large borders.” The company says it would be desirable to provide improved electronic devices with light sensors and displays. 

Finally, Apple has been granted two patents that hint at an “iPhone 8” in 2017 with super-resolution, multi-sensor cameras. Patent number 9,467,66 involves “miniature camera super resolution for plural image sensor arrangements,” while patent number 9,465,221 is for a digital camera with a light splitter.