Apple has been granted two patents for “wirelessly charged devices” that hints at upcoming uses for its AirPower charger.
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. AirPower hasn't been priced yet, but guesses have it costing anywhere from $150 - $200.
Patents 20180069600 and 20180069600 both involve a charging assembly that allows a portable electronic device to be charged in multiple orientations with respect to a charging device. The charging assembly includes two or more separate inductive receiving coils.
In the patent filings, Apple notes that conventional wireless charging applications generally rely upon precise alignment of transmission and receiving coils to achieve efficient wireless charging. In particular, the efficiency of inductive charging drops rapidly with any misalignment of the transmission and receiving coils.
This limits the number of ways in which a charger for an electronic device can be designed. The extra time necessary to ensure the coils are aligned for charging can remove some of the convenience that ought to be associated with wireless charging. Apple wants to change this.
And who knows? I’d love to see future versions of the Apple Pencil and Magic Mouse that could be charged via an AirPower.
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.