Come 2017, Apple may be incorporating an all-new wireless charging technology in their iPhone and iPad, according to a recent Bloomberg report.
Unlike current wireless charging technologies that require the device to be placed on a mat or within a charging cradle, this new technology will purportedly enable wireless charging from farther away. These revelations were made bypeople who happen to be familiar with the program and who have asked not to be identified.
As part of this technology development, Apple is researching overcoming the loss of power associated with transmission over distance. With this new development, Apple will compete against the likes of Samsung, Google and Sony in portable devices that utilize wireless charging, and this seemingly revolutionary approach could give them a significant advantage.
Apple did make a patent application as far back as 2010, indicating a concept iMac that could serve as a hub for charging nearby devices up to a distance of about one meter. This technique was based upon a technology called near-field magnetic resonance. A similar inductive system happens to be in use with the Apple Watch that gets wirelessly charged from within millimeters of the power source.
Another indicative patent described a method for manufacturing aluminium phone casings that are able to let radio waves pass through, a clear indication of the company intent to effectively utilize wireless charging despite having a device with a metallic shell.
Of the three major wireless charging standards in use currently–Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), Power Matters Alliance (PMA), and the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC)–semiconductor company Broadcom has a chip that is compatible with three of these standards, while Qualcomm supports two of these. These chips are used in numerous portable devices today. It remains to be seen where Apple’s alleged wireless charging solution fits within this space.