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Gadgets

Apple patent ponders new wireless charging system

Apple may be ready to unveil products with a built in wireless charging system, according to a recent patent.

Apple may one day introduce a system which allows its mobile devices to be charged without having to be plugged in, according to a patent recently uncovered by Unwired View.

Such a solution, doing away with power blocks and USB cables, would fit in very nicely with the possibility of wireless updates via Time Capsule.

The patent application -- entitled "Wireless power utilisation in a local computing environment" -- describes using near field magnetic resonance (NFMR) power transmission to charge the batteries of compatible devices within a 1-metre radius.

Although wireless charging is fairly new it's becoming more popular. What gadget-laden household wouldn't want a simple and tangle-free way of juicing up their phones, MP3 players, tablets and other portable devices?

Apple's system might do away with the wires but we've a sneaking suspicion it will be exclusive to its own products. A desktop or laptop Mac would include a power supply while portable devices and peripherals would be fitted with a receiving antenna. Older computers could be retrofitted with a USB dongle capable of NFMR transmission.

Even users with a single portable device might benefit. Connecting to a computer via USB isn't a great hardship (unless you're short on USB ports) but the rechargeable battery won't always fully charge that way. Wireless charging would allow you to keep your phone or tablet close to your computer rather than having to find a power socket on a distant wall to fully charge from. LG has already created its own charging mat for LG phones.

We've no evidence that hardware based on this patent will ever see the light of day, but if you want a way to wirelessly charge your gadgets now, check out our wireless charger group test where we compare the Powermat, WildCharge, PowerPad and iDapt.