A newly granted Apple patent (number 20170170859) for an “accessory case for wireless electronic device” will only add fuel to the speculation that the upcoming “iPhone 8” will have wireless charging.
The patent is for a removable phone case that can be coupled to an electronic device using both wired and wireless paths. The case may include circuitry that receives wireless power from external equipment. The circuitry that receives the wireless power may receive wireless power at microwave frequencies. Received power may be supplied to the electronic device through wired and wireless paths.
The removable case may also include circuitry that wirelessly communicates with external equipment. An array of antennas may be used to support beam steering. In acoustics, beam steering is used to direct the audio from loudspeakers to a specific location in the listening area.
The array of antennas may support wireless communications in millimeter wave communications bands such as a communications band at 60GHz or other extremely high frequency communications bands. The case and electronic device may have respective intermediate frequency antenna structures to allow intermediate frequency signals to be wirelessly conveyed between the case and device.