Today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that adds a dimension to their current granted patent for an iDevice / iPad stand based on magnetics. Apple's original patent application was covered by Patently Apple in 2013 and it illustrated that Apple's vision for iDevice magnetic stands could be used in applications such as a music stand or used in a vehicle, a treadmill and beyond. Apple was granted two patents for this invention (one and two). Last month we posted a report about the new Mophie wireless charging system that provides a magnetic stand showing us yet another scenario as to how an Apple iDevice stand based on magnetics could work. Some rumors have placed Apple's "Smart Connector" on the back of a future iPhone which would support a future charging stand scenario. In today's continuation patent, however, Apple takes a dramatic shift with this invention that might hint at wireless charging being added to this invention.
In their previous granted patents Apple listed 20 patent claims. All of the previous claims were focused on the "magnetics" aspect of the invention. In today's continuation patent, that all changes as they've boiled it down to a single patent claim that doesn't mention magnets whatsoever. It reads as follows:
"A multilayer printed circuit board (PCB) arranged to distribute alternating current (AC) for a power supply PCB, the multilayer PCB comprising: ground layers disposed on opposing surfaces of a dielectric medium that is disposed within a volume defined by the ground layers and radio-frequency (RF) shielding; and the RF shielding configured to provide an RF shield for at least one conductive layer that is located between the ground layers and arranged to carry the alternating current, wherein the at least one conductive layer is: (i) electrically isolated from the ground layers and RF shielding, and (ii) within the volume defined by the ground layers and RF shielding. "
Apple doesn't elaborate on how this new invention claim relates to an iPad or iPhone stand based on magnetics – other than indirectly pointing to wireless charging without every mentioning it.
In Wireless Charging Alternating Current or AC flowing within the transmitter coil induces a magnetic field which extends to the receiver coil according to Power by Proxi. Their illustration is presented below.
At the end of the day is Apple's latest magnetic stand invention hinting at adding a wireless charging component to it? I think it does. Unfortunately Apple doesn't elaborate on this new single and specific claim to help us remove any doubt that it has created.
For more on Apple's wireless charging patents, see our archives here. Today's continuation patent application 20160174363 was filed in October 2015.
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