Apple has an expanding pool of inventions on the topic of wireless charging / inductive charging (e.g. one, two, three, four, five and six). Today two of Apple's latest inventions have surfaced at the U.S. Patent Office that cover circular-coiled inductive charging systems. The first invention generally relates to a new winding/circular molded induction coil as presented below in FIG. 3. The second patent covers 'multi-coil induction' charging which is used in the Apple Watch. Technically the latter patent is a patent fulfilled.
Apple states that by injection molding the induction coil, a wider range of form factors and geometries can be achieved as compared to traditional metal induction coils. Additionally, if the induction coil is injection molded using suitable materials, conductive traces may be formed on one or more surfaces of the coil, reducing or eliminating the need for a separate wire-wrapped winding element. In some cases, the injection-molded induction coil includes one or more ferromagnetic shield elements that are molded into the base of the coil. For more on this see patent application 20150302971.
Second Invention: Apple Watch Inductive Charging System
In a secondary inductive charging invention, Apple covers "multi-coil induction" that was used in the new Apple Watch.
According to Apple, the invention more specifically relates to and takes the form of methods and apparatuses for managing the efficiency of an inductive power transfer system. Such embodiments can include an inductive power transmitter and an inductive power receiver. The inductive power transmitter and inductive power receiver may each include a plurality of transmit or receive coils positioned in an axially symmetric configuration around a magnetic field source such as a permanent magnet.
A power controller may selectively activate or deactivate one or more of the plurality of transmit or receive coils based on a power transfer efficiency determination. For example, a transmitter may include three transmit coils and a receiver may include three receive coils. In one alignment of the transmitter and receiver, the second coil of the transmitter may transmit power more efficiently to the first coil of the receiver than to the second coil of the receiver. The power controllers of the transmitter and receiver may selectively activate the second coil of the transmitter to transfer power to the first coil of the receiver. In another alignment, other pairings of transmit coils and receive coils may be used.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 noted above depicts a top down perspective view of an example inductive power transfer system in an unmated configuration; FIG. 2 depicts the example inductive power transfer system of FIG. 1 in a mated configuration; FIG. 4 depicts a side cross section view of the example inductive power transfer system taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 2; and FIG. 7 depicts a top plan view of a portion of an example inductive power transfer system, showing another example configuration of a plurality of power transfer inductors.
Apple further notes that an inductive power transfer system may include an inductive power transmitting apparatus to transmit power and a portable electronic device or accessory to receive power. Such future electronic devices may include media players, media storage devices, personal digital assistants, tablet computers, cellular telephones, laptop computers, smart phones, styluses, global positioning sensor units, remote control devices, wearable devices, electric vehicles, home appliances, medical devices, health devices, sports devices and so on. For more details on this second invention, see patent application 20150303699.
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