Apple may have abandoned plans for its AirPower wireless charger, but that doesn’t mean the company has abandoned plans for such a device. The tech giant has filed for a patent (number 10,320,241) for a “wireless charging system with object recognition.”
AirPower was originally announced in September 2017 alongside the iPhone X. It was supposed to 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 were placed on the pad. However, there was constant rumors of production, engineering, and manufacturing difficulties. Seems those rumors were right, as Apple announced in March that work on the device was being canceled as, in Apple’s words, “will not achieve our high standards.”
The new patent filing involves a wireless power transmitting device that transmits wireless power signals to a wireless power receiving device using output circuitry that includes an array of wireless power transmitting coils that form a wireless charging surface. Control circuitry in the wireless power transmitting device analyzes signals from the measurement circuitry to identify which objects are connected and provide the appropriate level of charging.
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.