Apple granted a patent for an AirPower-like wireless charger

Apple may have abandoned plans for its AirPower wireless charger, but that doesn’t a similar product might not arrive in the future. The tech giant has applied for one patent (number 10,320,241) for a “wireless charging system with object recognition.” Now the company has applied for a patent (number 10,326,316) for a “wireless charging system with inductance imaging.”

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.”

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Here’s the summary of the granted patent: “A wireless power transmission system has a wireless power receiving device that is located on a charging surface. The wireless power transmitting device has an array of wireless power transmitting coils that overlap the charging surface. The wireless power transmitting device uses inductance measurement circuitry that is coupled to the coil array to measure coil inductances for the wireless power transmitting coils. 

“The wireless power receiving device may contain a communications integrated circuit, display circuitry, or other sensitive components. The location and orientation of the wireless receiving device on the charging surface can be determined by analyzing the coil inductances. This information and information on the location of the sensitive component within the wireless power receiving device can be used to select a wireless power transmitting coil to transmit wireless power signals to the wireless power receiving device without exposing the sensitive component to excessive wireless power signals.”

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