Apple has applied for a patent (number 20180212455) for “inductive charging between electronic devices.” It would allow one Apple device to charge another.
In the patent filing, Apple notes that some electronic devices include one or more rechargeable batteries that may require external power to recharge. Often, these devices may be charged using a common or standardized electrical connector or cable. For example, some devices may be charged using a universal serial bus (“USB”) connector or cable.
However, despite having standardized connectors and cable, each device may require a separate or dedicated power supply to charge. Apple says that, in many cases, having separate power supplies for each device may be burdensome to use, store, and/or transport. The tech giant thinks that one solution would be, for example, a Mac laptop with a built-in charging pad on which you could place your iPhone for re-juicing. And I can envision an iMac with such a charging pad built into its stand.
In other words, a Mac with a built-in AirPower, Apple’s upcoming wireless charger. Assuming it ever arrives, the AirPower will be able to charge a Qi-compatible iPhone, an Apple Watch, and a pair of AirPods (in a special wireless charging case) at the same time regardless of where they’re placed on the pad.
In case you’re interested, here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “An electronic device and methods for inductively charging an electronic device using another external electronic device. The electronic device may include an enclosure, a battery positioned within the enclosure, and an inductive coil coupled to the battery. The inductive coil may have two or more operational modes, including a power receiving operational mode for wirelessly receiving power and a power transmitting operational mode for wirelessly transmitting power. The electronic device may also have a controller coupled to the inductive coil for selecting one of the operational modes.”
Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.