Apple Preparing for Medium to Long-Distance Wireless Charging, Patent Filing Reveals

May 10, 2017 •

Apple Wireless Charging

Imagine no longer needing to find a cord to charge your iPhone or iPad before it runs out of power and shuts down. That day may be coming sooner than you think, thanks to wireless charging capabilities that Apple is currently looking into, as indicated by a recent patent filing.

Apple Wireless Charging

The patent application for “Wireless Charging and Communications Systems With Dual-Frequency Patch Antennas” describes a way to charge devices using frequencies that currently are used primarily for communication, according to AppleInsider.

Apple’s invention for power transfer is designed to work over a number of wireless communication frequencies, such as Wi-Fi at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz as well as cellular signals ranging from 700 MHz to 2700 MHz.

What Does This Mean for You?

This means that people will be able to use their Wi-Fi routers at home as well as nearby cellular data network nodes to charge their iPhone without needing a wall outlet or USB charging cable. There might even be a capability to charge phones from satellite power transmissions.

Apple is already deploying a form of wireless charging on a smaller scale, using inductive charging technology in the Apple Watch. However, that method only works at short distances, unlike the cellular and Wi-Fi frequencies being targeted for power transfer in the patent.

The patent filing describes a transmitter and a receiver, with antennas that work with electronics that adjust the phase and magnitude of the frequency. This type of system is capable of working in dynamic beam steering.

Apple’s first deployed dynamic beam streaming is in its AirPort routers. Directing the power makes the energy beam more powerful, letting users obtain the strongest possible signal no matter where they are located.

What Does the Future Hold for iPhone Charging?

It’s worth noting that a leak of schematics for the upcoming iPhone 8 seem to contain plenty of room for a wireless charging pad that will be located in the device’s rear casing. The specifications line up with Apple’s new patent for wireless charging.

If and when this new wireless charging capability from Apple is rolled out, you won’t need to fret if you lose your iPhone’s charging cable. All the power that you need for your device will be harvested from thin air, thanks to a new use for existing technology that was developed just for communications and not energy transfer.