Today the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals an invention that generally relates to connectible devices, and more specifically to a new system for magnetic connection and alignment of connectible electronic devices such as when docking an iPhone or other portable device. Technically, the first device to use the base of this invention was the Apple Watch. The invention explains how this new system could be used in connection with other mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad, MacBook and beyond. Apple's engineering teams have really accelerated their patent activity regarding inductive charging in 2015. Today's invention marks their fifth invention on record this year alone
Apple's patent FIG. 3 illustrates a new magnetic docking system showing the first and second connectible electronic devices (iPhone-101 and 102-dock) in one possible contact position. Apple's FIG. 4 shows the two magnetic elements connecting in place.
Apple notes that the alignment of the two devices may be useful for a number of reasons and in various implementations. For example, in some implementations the two devices may respectively include transmitting and receiving components of an inductive power transmission system. In such a case, the connection and alignment of the two devices may align the transmitting and receiving components to promote inductive power transmission efficiency.
One or more of the devices may include a variety of features that aid in the lateral magnetic force exceeding a friction coefficient between housings (or portions of housings) of the two devices, thereby bringing of the two devices from an initial or contact position to the aligned position. In some implementations, such a feature may include one or more of the connection surfaces being formed of low friction material(s), such as a crystalline material, a material having a friction-reducing coating or treatment, a polished surface, and so on.
As always, Apple notes that the invention could be applied to many future devices including the iPad, MacBook and a dock that connects to another electronic device for the purposes of charging and/or connecting the electronic device to one or more external components, and/or any other such electronic device. The Apple Watch which first introduced inductive charging is mentioned in this patent.
Apple credits Albert Golko, Eric Jol, Christopher Graham, Paul Thompson, Jeffrey Alves, Daniel Wagman, Stephen Yao and Makiko Brzezinski as the inventors. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
Apple filed a second related patent covering magnetic shielding in inductive power transfer. Apple notes in their second filing that the magnetic elements and/or the inductive power coils may include a shield that is configured to minimize or reduce eddy currents caused in the magnetic elements by the inductive power coils.
Other Apple Inductive Charging Patent Reports
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