A Rumor Report from Mark Gurman claims that Apple is continuing to work on a Wireless Charging Pad, Reverse Charging and more
According to a new rumor report, Apple is still working on a future wireless charger after abandoning their AirPower project in March 2019. Mark Gurman's latest 'Power On' newsletter touched on Apple still working on a multiple device charging pad.
In 2018 Patently Apple covered 18 patent reports on AirPower. In 2019, when Apple officially ended the project, we only covered 4 AirPower patents and in 2020 there were only 2 patents covering AirPower which you could check out in our "Wireless Charging" patent archives.
On November 19 2021, the U.S. Patent Office published Apple's patent application 20210359556 for a next-gen AirPower wireless charging mat filed in late July decribed a new approach to a wireless charging pad by including detectable sensing elements (as noted in the patent figures below) should the device wanting to be charged isn't perfectly aligned with the charging pad coils. Apple had been working on this for several years.
More specifically, Apple's patent FIG. 3D below depicts an example electronic device having capacitive structures detectable by a wireless charging mat; FIG. 3E depicts another example electronic device having capacitive structures detectable by a wireless charging mat; FIG. 3F depicts yet another example electronic device having a pattern of capacitive structures detectable by a wireless charging mat; and FIG. 3G depicts an example of a wireless charging mat detecting, via capacitive sensing, a location and an orientation of an electronic device having capacitive structures.
Apple's patent FIG. 4B above depicts a simplified cross-sectional view of a wireless charging mat configured to detect a location and an orientation of an electronic device via pressure sensing.
Gurman further believes that Apple is working on different wireless charging solutions including "short and long distant wireless charging and all of its major devices can charge each other. The latter concept has been covered in several patent reports as noted here: 01, 02, 03 and 04. Below is a common patent figure associated with such a concept.
Apple cancelling AirPower just as it was to be revealed in 2019 was an embarrassment, considering that other tech companies had achieved such a device. With a new charging approach as seen in the patent application above and their ongoing working on a MacBook Pro and/or iPad Pro being able to reverse charge multiple devices, Apple is likely to move forward with one or both projects sometime in the foreseeable future.
If Gurman is reporting on this now, Apple must be getting closer to delivering new wireless charging solutions.