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Apple investigating inductive charging mat for docking portable devices

post #1 of 67
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Apple has shown interest in building an inductive charging mat that would allow users to dock, charge and sync their portable devices by simply placing them on top of the accessory.

Patent 2


The details come from a newly published Apple patent application discovered on Thursday by AppleInsider. The filing, entitled "Device Orientation Based Docking Functions," describes a "docking device" that would allow devices to be placed on top of it.

The mat would accomplish docking functions such as charging, data transfer, syncing, diagnostic checking, or any other potential use based on the physical orientation of the user device on the surface.

The filing notes that smartphones, like the iPhone, as well as digital cameras and media players like iPods can all be built to utilize inductive charging surfaces. Circuitry in these devices would respond to a magnetic field provided by the charging surface that would also allow data to be transferred while the device is docked.

While inductive charging surfaces are not new technology, Apple's application brings a new twist to the concept with the idea of interpreting the device's orientation for specific purposes. For example, a future iPhone with inductive charging capabilities could be placed face down on the mat for charging only, while placing the handset face-up on the mat could initiate syncing with a computer or iCloud as well as charging.

Patent 2


Once a device is placed on the mat, its current docking mode may be indicated to the user by either a sound, a graphic displayed on the device's screen, an electronic message notification, or a vibration of the device.

Beyond a local computer for syncing, the inductive charging mat could also be connected to a host of devices throughout a person's home. In one example, the mat is connected to speakers for audio output when docked.

Patent 2


Apple's proposed invention was first filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in March of 2011. It is credited to Jorge S. Fino.

When the iPhone 5 was announced earlier this month, Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller was asked why the new handset does not include inductive charging capabilities. He said the perceived convenience of such technology is questionable, as charging mats must still be plugged into an outlet.

"Having to create another device you have to plug into the wall is actually, for most situations, more complicated," he explained.
post #2 of 67
Sometimes I feel like I can predict Apple's patents.
post #3 of 67

The utility of taking up a lot of space on a desktop so that I don't have the plug in a Lightening connector to do the same thing?

 

Meh.

post #4 of 67
This is news? They'd have to be morons NOT to be looking at inductive charging.
post #5 of 67

So it DOES matter which way it's held(oriented).  ;-)

 

Pretty interesting, but not revolutionary by any means.  

post #6 of 67
Following in Nokia's footsteps with the 820 and 920 phones coming in November. Surprise, surprise.
post #7 of 67
Forget inductive charging... bring on WiTricity!

http://www.ted.com/talks/eric_giler_demos_wireless_electricity.html
post #8 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaelian View Post

Sometimes I feel like I can predict Apple's patents.

Apple has lots of patents that they never utilize but that doesn't mean they don't research potential technologies. Often there are great technologies that simply can't be used for aroids other reasons. Inductive charging for the iPhone might be one of them.

How would having an externally placed metal antenna and metal backing/frame affect charging and reception? Could it short out and damage components? They could use an adaptive charging pad that would sense the placement of the device first which could preent this and potentially make the power exchange more efficient. Per your linked comment I doubt that would remove the metal and add some nubs for charging.

Personally, I see this being used for something besides the iPhone.

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post #9 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fergiej View Post

Following in Nokia's footsteps with the 820 and 920 phones coming in November. Surprise, surprise.

You obviously did not read the full article did you???? Otherwise you would see that this was filed in MARCH 2011 and the Nokia phones are not even out yet, not to mention that the Palm Pre already had inductive charging (without sync tho).

Maybe you were just trolling?
post #10 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

You obviously did not read the full article did you???? Otherwise you would see that this was filed in MARCH 2011 and the Nokia phones are not even out yet, not to mention that the Palm Pre already had inductive charging (without sync tho).
Maybe you were just trolling?


Step 1: Read a handful of nouns from opening paragraph on AI.
Step 2: Claim Apple doesn't innovate.
Step 3: ???
Step 4: Ask mom to bring more HotPockets to your Command Center (aka bedroom).

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post #11 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaelian View Post

Sometimes I feel like I can predict Apple's patents.


Except this was posted by apple in march 2011

post #12 of 67
Since when are patent applications news? Of course Apple would be looking into this. So what?
post #13 of 67
Can't wait, bring it on!
post #14 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by hjsimpson View Post

Forget inductive charging... bring on WiTricity!
http://www.ted.com/talks/eric_giler_demos_wireless_electricity.html

Agree 100000%
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post #15 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by xxSampleXX View Post

This is news? They'd have to be morons NOT to be looking at inductive charging.

Sure they are looking at it. Doesn't mean they will like what they see or ever make it. But they will certainly patent it just like all companies would. Heck probably 3/4 of Apple's patents are things they looked at but rejected as something they will never do themselves.

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post #16 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fergiej View Post

Following in Nokia's footsteps with the 820 and 920 phones coming in November. Surprise, surprise.

But did Nokia think of this at all much less first, are they doing it the same way etc.

For all you know, they actually licensed what they are doing from Apple.

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post #17 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by smiffy31 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaelian View Post

Sometimes I feel like I can predict Apple's patents.


Except this was posted by apple in march 2011

1 - That doesn't mean I didn't have the idea before and only brought it at that point because it was only relevant by then;

2 - I had no prior knowledge of this patent, thus classifying this as a prediction, even if the patent was filed before my suggestion;

3 - My point with this comment was to demonstrate, once again, that Apple's statement about inductive charging was most likely bullshit; they just didn't have the tech ready in time. The future shall tell...
post #18 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fergiej View Post

Following in Nokia's footsteps with the 820 and 920 phones coming in November. Surprise, surprise.

 

This is a ridiculous comment. Not only does Apple have other inductive charging patents filed years ago, and not only did Nokia in no way "think of this first," the concept of inductive charging is decades old.  

 

It's almost as if someone just came out with a new car and you said "I see they are following in Ford's footsteps by using wheels ..." 

post #19 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Since when are patent applications news? Of course Apple would be looking into this. So what?

Since it gets page hits and the iPad Mini stopped having leaked parts and no one left their prototype at the local Coffee Bean (what you though they would take it to a bar, at is soooo last year)

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post #20 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaelian View Post


3 - My point with this comment was to demonstrate, once again, that Apple's statement about inductive charging was most likely bullshit; they just didn't have the tech ready in time. The future shall tell...

Given the number of patents they have filed, much less been granted, that they never did, I'll calling bullshit on your comment that they are doing this but just didn't have it ready. You have zero to back that up. In the end the future could show you are wrong.

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post #21 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by hjsimpson View Post

Forget inductive charging... bring on WiTricity!
http://www.ted.com/talks/eric_giler_demos_wireless_electricity.html

 

Actually only *slightly* different from inductive charging, and not likely to work over any kind of large distances or in a real-life situation for many years (if at all).  

 

Now, if someone could make Tesla's ideas actually work, that would be wireless electricity.  

post #22 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaelian View Post

1 - That doesn't mean I didn't have the idea before and only brought it at that point because it was only relevant by then;
2 - I had no prior knowledge of this patent, thus classifying this as a prediction, even if the patent was filed before my suggestion;
3 - My point with this comment was to demonstrate, once again, that Apple's statement about inductive charging was most likely bullshit; they just didn't have the tech ready in time. The future shall tell...

In a way you are likely correct. I also think Apple's statement was 100% correct. The way it works today is pointless. If they come up with some way to better integrate the concept than it may have merit. It is not only that Apple did not have the tech ready. No one has an inductive charging system with any practical value.


On the point of your prediction. No matter how you look at it, public knowledge of your prediction occurred long after the event you were predicting took place. You can see why some people might question the value of the prediction.
post #23 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maury Markowitz View Post

The utility of taking up a lot of space on a desktop so that I don't have the plug in a Lightening connector to do the same thing?

Meh.

It goes beyond that. In addition to losing desk space, you have enormous energy losses. The best consumer products are something like 60% efficient and most are worse. When I calculated it a while back, that wasted electricity would essentially require one full scale GW power plant just to make up for the wasted energy.

It takes only an instant to plug in a Lightning connector. You don't really save any time, you waste space on your desk, and you waste energy. Plus, you have to add bulk and weight to your phone. I don't see it ever being standard for Apple products.
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post #24 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

This is a ridiculous comment. Not only does Apple have other inductive charging patents filed years ago, and not only did Nokia in no way "think of this first," the concept of inductive charging is decades old.  

It's almost as if someone just came out with a new car and you said "I see they are following in Ford's footsteps by using wheels ..." 

In fact that were granted a pretty cool one in June too. http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57461609-37/apple-wins-patent-for-inductive-charging-docking-station/ Apple's patents are all about doing more with inductive charging than just charging. Good stuff.

Edit: Here is AIs first story on Apple working to patent devices with inductive charging: http://appleinsider.com/articles/08/11/13/apple_pushing_for_patent_on_versatile_tablet_docking_station

It is from 2008.
post #25 of 67

I suppose this will come out right after I finally finish replacing all my 30-pin dock accessories with Lightning accessories.

post #26 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Given the number of patents they have filed, much less been granted, that they never did, I'll calling bullshit on your comment that they are doing this but just didn't have it ready. You have zero to back that up. In the end the future could show you are wrong.

But that is Vaelian's style. Post some nonsensical drivel without evidence and then attack the people who ask you to prove it.

For example, he's still insisting that he knows what went on in the Apple-Google negotiations yet refuses to provide any evidence.
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post #27 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


Agree 100000%

 

 

If WiTricity is too far forward then lets go back and talk about inductive charging/syncing...

 

There are many possibilities that can be implemented in.

 

1.  How about turning the base of the iMac into an inductive charger/with sync?  It's in front of you, within reach and its always plugged in!  When a call, text, or a notification comes in it displays it on the screen.

 

2.  How about integrating it into the MacBook case (on the cover or the palm rest)?  I can vision using a MacBook and placing the iDevice on the cover so that it can charge but when I open it to work it stays in place with the use of magnets. When a call, text, or a notification comes in it displays it on the screen.  Make it configurable so that when its not plugged in you are prompted to charge from the battery, sync or neither.

post #28 of 67

Inductive charging is a gimmick, period. Give me Tesla's vision or don't waste my time at all. 

 

I'm sure Apple did this for a reason less evident than what the patent itself says.

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post #29 of 67

I wonder if it will also keep my coffee warm!

post #30 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

 

Actually only *slightly* different from inductive charging, and not likely to work over any kind of large distances or in a real-life situation for many years (if at all).  

 

Now, if someone could make Tesla's ideas actually work, that would be wireless electricity.  

 

 

I wasn't thinking of a large distance application. I was more thinking of removing the cable from the charging unit.   Think of just the WiTricity technology within a small A/C adapter with a small range say 10-20ft.  Currently I charge all my iDevices on a counter in the kitchen that probably won't change as it is a convient location for everyone, I would just rather not to deal with multiple charging cables.

 

Heck, integrate WiTricity into an Airport Express so when your on travel you can charge and provide wireless all in one unit!

 

I understand WiTriciy is a ways away but....soon it will be a totally wireless world!

post #31 of 67

It'd be more interesting if they build it into their existing products. e.g. the stand of an iMac, somewhere out of the way on a macbook, the top of a mac mini, etc.

post #32 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by hjsimpson View Post


I wasn't thinking of a large distance application. I was more thinking of removing the cable from the charging unit.   Think of just the WiTricity technology within a small A/C adapter with a small range say 10-20ft.  Currently I charge all my iDevices on a counter in the kitchen that probably won't change as it is a convient location for everyone, I would just rather not to deal with multiple charging cables.

Heck, integrate WiTricity into an Airport Express so when your on travel you can charge and provide wireless all in one unit!

I understand WiTriciy is a ways away but....soon it will be a totally wireless world!


The only problem is that wireless charging at that distance would be hopelessly inefficient. Your electric bill for charging such devices would at least quadruple (probably more) and you'd need a lot of new GW-scale power plants to supply all the wasted energy.

Really bad idea.
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post #33 of 67
Did we not Diss this when iphone 5 didn't have it?
post #34 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

The only problem is that wireless charging at that distance would be hopelessly inefficient. Your electric bill for charging such devices would at least quadruple (probably more) and you'd need a lot of new GW-scale power plants to supply all the wasted energy.
Really bad idea.

Didn't see mention of that at the TED show from their web site. Do you have actual data on this on this from the MIT work?
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post #35 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Inductive charging is a gimmick, period. Give me Tesla's vision or don't waste my time at all. 

 

I'm sure Apple did this for a reason less evident than what the patent itself says.


To troll Nokia?

 

Strange that taking 2 existing technologies and slapping them together can constitute a new patent... 

post #36 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


Didn't see mention of that at the TED show from their web site. Do you have actual data on this on this from the MIT work?

http://gigaom.com/cleantech/toyota-teams-up-with-witricity-for-wireless-car-charging/

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post #37 of 67
Originally Posted by stniuk View Post
Did we not Diss this when iphone 5 didn't have it?

 

I'm still dissing it. I'll diss it even if Apple makes a product with it. Inductive charging is not the way to go.


Originally Posted by Mikeb85 View Post
Strange that taking 2 existing technologies and slapping them together can constitute a new patent... 

 

Funny, that sounds like how all new inventions are made. But it's not what is happening here.

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post #38 of 67
Unless the charging loop can be built into a surface unobtrusively, I really don't see much benefit. When you use a cord to charge and you're done, the cord can be set aside easily and it doesn't bother anything. With a charging mat, that matt takes up space on the table, desk, night stand, etc. The mats are not as portable either.
post #39 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

 

Actually only *slightly* different from inductive charging, and not likely to work over any kind of large distances or in a real-life situation for many years (if at all).  

 

Now, if someone could make Tesla's ideas actually work, that would be wireless electricity.  

 

Hmm. Nokia did research and some prototypes on charging via normal radiowaves that are all around us to increase battery life probably some six years or so ago. Isn't that "wireless" electricity?

post #40 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Unless the charging loop can be built into a surface unobtrusively, I really don't see much benefit. When you use a cord to charge and you're done, the cord can be set aside easily and it doesn't bother anything. With a charging mat, that matt takes up space on the table, desk, night stand, etc. The mats are not as portable either.

 

Some airports in Europe already offer charging loops integrated into the desks of cafe's. You just borrow a loop with your device's charging connector and presto!

 

I've seen this at least in Copenhagen, LHR and Helsinki

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