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Apple iWatch may offer wireless charging

A Chinese manufacturer of wireless charging coils has reportedly sent them to Apple for certification for the much-rumored smartwatch.

A CNET mock-up of what an iWatch might look like. Sarah Tew and Christopher MacManus/CNET

Apple iWatch wearers might be able to charge the device wirelessly -- at least if the latest rumors from Chinese media prove true.

Insiders at Chinese electronics maker Luxshare say the company has sent wireless charging coils to Apple to be certified and approved for inclusion in the iWatch, according to the G for Games website. Luxsure is reportedly one of two coil suppliers currently being considered by Apple, the report claims.

Asked about its potential partnership with Apple, Luxshare declined to spill anything to G for Games because "the product [iWatch] is not yet available." Assuming the charging coils and all the other parts are lined up, Apple is eyeing a release date for the watch sometime in the second half of the year, according to the insider.

Reports of an Apple iWatch have been ramping up lately as vendors such as Samsung and Sony have unveiled their own high-tech watches. Motorola and LG are also prepping entries into the small but growing smartwatch market.

But Apple likes to wait before diving into a new product category, giving it the time needed to try to outdo its rivals. An Apple iWatch would reportedly act as both a smartwatch and an activity sensor. Apple's iOS 8, slated to be unveiled at next week's Worldwide Developers Conference, will reportedly introduce an app called Healthbook that could directly tap into the watch's health and fitness features.

As with all iWatch rumors, this latest scuttlebutt from a "Luxshare insider" should be filed in the take-it-with-a-grain-of-salt category. But in February, the New York Times reported that Apple has been testing solar and wireless charging for its purported smartwatch. Described in an Apple patent in late 2003, the wireless charging method would use magnetic induction, the Times said. Such a method would jibe with the need for charging coils in the device.

Most of today's smartwatches require you to charge the device via a conventional cable. But a more advanced and feature-packed smartwatch would likely run out of power before the day is over. Motorola is reportedly eyeing magnetic induction wireless charging for its upcoming Moto 360 watch, G for Games said in March.

Assuming an iWatch is on tap, Apple would certainly want to offer a similarly flexible and simple way of keeping it charged throughout the day.

(Via MacRumors)