New technology could power phones and accessories without the need for a physical connection
In a document entitled “Wireless power utilisation in a local computing environment,” submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office, Apple describes how the technology could use a near-field magnetic resonance (NFMR) power supply to charge nearby devices with have an NFMR resonator circuit.
This would create a “virtual charging area” which would power compatible devices located within around one metre of the power supply. It has been suggested that the supply could be hosted by a computer or a home cinema display.
iPhone wireless charging
Such a method would also strengthen Apple’s green credentials. Not only would it remove the need for multiple chargers, but it could allow accessories such as keyboards and mice to operate without disposable batteries.
The iPhone 5, which was launched in September, uses a new eight-pin connection called ‘Lightning’ to charge the device. This replaced the old 30-pin connector which had been in use since the third generation iPod.
Interest in wireless charging has increased following the release of the Nokia Lumia 920, which includes the technology as one of its main selling points. There are currently a number of rival wireless standards trying to claim supremacy in the field, with the most established being the Qi-specification, which has been used by a number of smartphones.
The Wireless Power Consortium-backed Qi standard is being challenged by the Powermat Technologies-led Power Matters Alliance and the Alliance for Wireless Power, which is apparently based around Qualcomm technology.
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