Last Thursday the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple relating to AirPower, their possible future wireless charging pad that could charge multiple devices simultaneously. Apple's patent application reveals a security feature that could be added to AirPower and how the charging status of up to three devices is communicated to the user.
In the patent figures below, Apple illustrates that the device with the largest display will be the chosen device to display the charging status of all devices on AirPower.
Apple's patent FIG. 10 below illustrates a high-level overview of a wireless charging apparatus 1002 that is configured to communicate with and provide an electrical charge to different computing devices
The AirPower wireless charging apparatus can include a power supply, one or more indicators, a memory for storing device information, one or more communications components, and at least one wireless charging surface.
According to some embodiments, the wireless charging surface can implement any form of wireless (e.g., inductive) charging technology to enable one or more computing devices to receive a charge when placed in proximity to (e.g., directly onto, or otherwise within a functional range of the wireless charging technology of) the wireless charging surface. For example, the wireless charging surface can implement Qi wireless charging technology, Power Matters Alliance (PMA) technology, or any other form of wireless charging technology.
As shown in FIG. 10, a packet #1028 transmitted by a computing device #1020 can include a unique identifier (ID) #1022 for the computing device.
According to some embodiments, the unique ID identifier can take any form that enables the computing device to be uniquely identifiable. The unique ID can be a randomly-generated string that is unrelated to the hardware/software properties of the computing device. In this manner, nearby malicious devices attempting to snoop on information transmitted between the computing device and the wireless charging apparatus will only be able to gather innocuous data.
Moreover, the embodiments described herein can involve periodically refreshing the unique IDs of the computing devices to further-thwart any malicious activity that may be attempted.
Apple's patent application was filed back exactly a year ago. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.