Apple Patent Reveals a Future iMac doubling as a Wireless Transmitter capable of recharging Apple's Magic Accessories
Way back in Q3 2013 Patently Apple posted Apple first major wireless charging system for iMac in a report titled "Apple Reveals Master Details of Wireless Charging System." The main patent figure from that report is presented below.
Prior to Apple launching their AirPower charging mat, the US Patent & Trademark Office today published a patent application from Apple relating to an iMac being a wireless transmitting device that could charge future versions of accessories like their Magic Keyboard, Trackpad and mouse.
Apple notes that it can be challenging to form electronic devices and electronic device accessories with desired wireless charging attributes. In some devices, antennas are bulky. In other devices, antennas are compact, but are sensitive to the position of the antennas relative to external objects. If care is not taken, antennas may become detuned or may otherwise not perform as expected.
Some electronic device accessories have batteries. However, the batteries may need to be recharged frequently. It would therefore be desirable to be able to provide improved wireless circuitry for electronic devices and electronic device accessories.
Apple's invention covers a wireless power transmission system that has a wireless power receiving device that is configured to receive power from a wireless power transmitting device.
The wireless power transmitting device may include an antenna that is configured to transmit wireless charging signals to the wireless power receiving device. The wireless power transmitting device may have a conductive housing portion at a front face and a reflector at a rear face that form a cavity for the antenna.
The antenna may be a slot antenna formed by a slot in the conductive housing portion or a patch antenna formed in an opening in the conductive housing portion. The wireless power transmitting device may be a desktop computer. The desktop computer may include a display with a transparent cover layer that rests on an upper edge of the conductive housing portion.
The wireless power receiving device may include an antenna that receives the wireless charging signals from the wireless power transmitting device. The wireless power receiving device may include rectifier circuitry that converts signals from the antenna to a corresponding rectified direct current voltage that may be used to charge a battery in the wireless power receiving device.
The antenna may be a slot antenna or inverted-F antenna with portions formed from a conductive housing for the wireless power receiving device. The wireless power receiving device may be a keyboard, a trackpad, or a computer mouse.
The wireless charging signals may be transmitted from the wireless power transmitting device to the wireless power receiving device at a frequency between 500 MHz and 6000 MHz (e.g., 900 MHz) or another desired frequency.
Apple's patent FIG. 3 below is a perspective view of an illustrative wireless charging system with a desktop computer and a keyboard; FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an illustrative wireless charging system with a desktop computer and a trackpad; FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an illustrative wireless charging system with a desktop computer and a computer mouse.
Apple's patent FIG. 10 below is a perspective view of an illustrative wireless power transmitting device with a slot antenna.
Apple's patent FIG. 11 above is a perspective view of an illustrative wireless power transmitting device with a patch antenna; FIG. 12 is a perspective view of an illustrative wireless power transmitting device with multiple antennas for transmitting wireless power signals.
Apple's patent FIG. 13 below is a side view of an illustrative wireless power transmitting device (an iMac) configured to direct wireless power signals towards a wireless power receiving device (accessory, Keyboard etc.)
Control circuitry 30 may include radio-frequency (RF) transceiver circuitry such as radio-frequency transceiver circuitry formed from one or more integrated circuits, power amplifier circuitry, low-noise input amplifiers, passive RF components, one or more antennas, transmission lines, and other circuitry for handling RF wireless signals. Wireless signals can also be sent using light (e.g., using infrared communications). The control circuitry may use radio-frequency transceiver circuitry to handle various radio-frequency communications bands.
The transceiver circuitry may handle 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands for WiFi (IEEE 802.11) communications and may handle the 2.4 GHz Bluetooth communications band.
The transceiver circuitry may handle wireless communications in frequency ranges such as a low communications band from 700 to 960 MHz, a low-midband from 960 to 1710 MHz, a midband from 1710 to 2170 MHz, a high band from 2300 to 2700 MHz, an ultra-high band from 3400 to 3700 MHz or other communications bands between 600 MHz and 4000 MHz or other suitable frequencies (as examples).
The transceiver circuitry may handle voice data and non-voice data. For example, transceiver circuitry 46 may include circuitry for receiving television and radio signals, paging system transceivers, near field communications (NFC) circuitry, etc.
The transceiver circuitry may include global positioning system (GPS) receiver equipment for receiving GPS signals at 1575 MHz or for handling other satellite positioning data. In WiFi and Bluetooth links and other short-range wireless links, wireless signals are typically used to convey data over tens or hundreds of feet.
Antennas #140 in a power transmitting device like an iMac may be formed using any suitable antenna types. For example, the antennas may include antennas with resonating elements that are formed from stacked patch antenna structures, loop antenna structures, patch antenna structures, inverted-F antenna structures, slot antenna structures, planar inverted-F antenna structures, monopoles, dipoles, helical antenna structures, Yagi (Yagi-Uda) antenna structures, hybrids of these designs, etc.
Apple's patent application 20190089185 that was published today by the U.S. Patent Office was originally filed back in Q3 2017. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
There were two continuation patents published today showing Apple advancing their work on an auto-adjustable Apple Watch band and a specialty Apple Store table with a display top that promoted force touch. When touching the table top it would animate as if you dropped a pebble in water sending out ripples.
Patently Apple originally covered the Auto-Adjustable Apple Watch band back in a 2016 report here. Today's "continuation patent" where the only thing that's updated is the invention's claims can be viewed here.
Patently Apple originally covered the Special Apple Store table in a 2017 IP report here. Today's "continuation patent" where the only thing that's updated is the invention's claims can be viewed here.
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