Apple wins patent for AirPower-like device

Apple may have canceled plans for its AirPower wireless charger, but the company is apparently still interested in such technology as evidenced by a newly granted patent (number 20190245383) for a “system and method for power transfer.”

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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. Apple’s new patent involves systems and methods for inductive power transfer for consumer electronic devices. 

Here’s the summary of the invention: “A system for inductive power transfer that may selectively transmit power in a plurality of modes based on characteristics of a power receiver and determine which transmitter coils to drive based on received signal strength information.
“The inductive power transfer transmitter may detect characteristics of the power receiver in order to control the mode of the power transfer and selectively control which transmitter coils are driven based on signal strength information received from a power receiver. The power transmitter may have slugs formed of a magnetically permeable material within common coil winding openings and the transmitter coils may consists of a plurality of parallel windings.”

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.