Apple has been issued two patents for a wireless power system. This system allows the powering of a mouse, keyboard, iPhone and other peripheral devices simply by plugging a MacBook Air into a power supply.
These patents were filed more than two years ago and they operate under the idea that a computer created charging area will transfer power to nearby peripherals. The technology, known as near field magnetic resonance (NFMR), will charge devices within a one-meter area.
It has been known for some time that coupling a wireless transmitter and receiver through a magnetic field can wirelessly transmit power. That technology has yet to make a serious production impact. Apple, however, promises to change that. Rumor has it that the company is planning to introduce this technology with the release of future products. That, in itself, would force others to follow suit. It promises to reduce the consumer’s dependency on power cords and batteries.
Apple’s wireless power system patent includes a central unit, normally a desktop that can incorporate an NFMR power supply. Peripheral equipment, such as a mouse and keyboard, would be equipped with special resonators that take the place of conventional batteries.
Li-Quan Tan and David Amm are credited as the inventors of patent 8,796,885, originally filed in 2012. Apple was also granted patent 8,796,886 relating to magnetic resonance power. The patent filing describes a system that includes an NFMR powers supply that will supply power to any appropriately configured peripheral devices within a meter of the power source.
The power source includes two magnetically de-coupled resonators. Internal circuitry provides a power combining circuit designed to load balance, load match and maintain effective magnetic coupling between the first and second resonators. It further stipulates that the peripheral devices require a wireless power-receiving unit that includes two de-coupled NFMR receivers. Peripheral devices also have internal load matching and load balancing circuits.
Basically, a resonant transfer works by inducing an oscillating current in a coil, thereby generating a magnetic field. Energy placed on a high resonant coil dies away slowly. If, however, a second coil is nearby, that coil can receive the energy before it is completely lost. Distance between the coils is highly instrumental in the success of the system, the greater the distance and the greater the energy loss.
There has been a constant influx of new devices offering new solutions and performance upgrades. Many technical upgrades include changes in power requirements, connectors and interfaces that, in turn, require new adapters. By implementing a wireless charging system, Apple hopes to eliminate the need to continually change or replace adapters and cords and reduce the need for batteries.
Apple hopes to incorporate its newly patented wireless power system in future products. With a wide array of products in the marketplace, Apple is striving to simplify the consumer’s needs for cords and adapters. Almost assuredly, Apple’s new wireless system will operate on a proprietary protocol, thereby forcing consumers to stay within the Apple family of products. Should this technology take off and be in demand, it will leave others scrambling to develop their own proprietary wireless powering systems.
By Hans Benes