Apple has filed for a patent (20190081509) for a “wireless charging mat with dynamic surface texture.” It seems to involve its long-awaited AirPower product.
If 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.
The AirPower hasn't been priced yet, but guesses have it costing anywhere from $150 - $200. There’s a (slim?) chance it could debut at the March 25 “It’s Showtime” event.
In the patent filing, Apple notes that inductive charge mats can experience a problem where electronic devices, such as mobile phones, slip off the surface of the mat due to the smooth surface of the phone and the mat. A charging mat with an uncoated silicone surface can prevent phone slippage, but silicone has poor esthetic and haptic qualities, and causes lint and dust to build up on the surface.
Here’s Apple’s summary of the patent: “wireless charging mat has a surface area for receiving an electronic device to be charged. The surface area of the charging mat includes an inner region having a rough surface texture and an outer region having s smooth surface texture, and the outer region is elevated relative to the inner region.”