Apple is reportedly working on long-range charging that allows multiple devices to charge anywhere within range of around 20 feet. One report had the company teaming up with Energous to use its WattUp system for its plans. However, an investor's note from Copperfield Research says this isn’t so, and that Apple plans to use its own in-house-developed wireless charging tech.
The research group notes that Apple has filed more than 16 patent applications covering aspects of inductive charging, which is the magnetic coil based wireless charging used in Samsung phones and Apple Watches (WATT’s technology uses RF waves.) The Apple patent portfolio covers both the design and manufacturing of coils, as well as transmitters and receivers. What’s more, Apple’s engineering focus in its patent filings explicitly incorporates inductive charging into handsets. In December Apple filed a patent for a platform that incorporates inductive charging coils into a retail table top (similar to those used in Apple stores).
Apple’s inductive charging platform will allow devices like iPhones to be charged wirelessly anywhere on the table’s surface. This approach would eliminate today’s wireless charging pads that require devices maintain specific points of contact and orientation. Copperfield Research says “Apple diagrams clearly illustrate how iPhones and iPads will elegantly turn an entire surface into an inductive charging platform.”
Another patent application published in March 2016 involves a method for charging iPhones from Mac devices. Not only does Apple’s description specifically refer to “Inductive Charging,” the diagram (pictured) illustrates inductive charging coils in a MacBook charging iPhone handsets.
It would be cool if future Mac laptops could charge iPhones or iPads. It would also be interesting if Apple offered an “iDesk” (the pictured mock-ups are courtesy of Geeky Gadgets) that could wireless charge iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, AirPods, and — at some point in the future — Macs.