While a new 19-pin dock connector is almost certain for the next iPhone, Apple is also apparently working to change the way its devices can be charged. According to Patently Apple, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple a patent for an inductive charging system.
The system would allow wireless charging of your iPhone or iPod touch by simply placing the device on a specially designed dock with a reradiating antenna and inductive charging circuit.
The site has more information about the particulars in the patent, originally filed in the first quarter of 2008:
While the dock housing is shown to receive the handheld device in an upright position, other dock housing configurations for receiving the handheld device along its other sides are also possible. The dock housing is further configured to enable charging the battery of the handheld device through an inductive charge coupling mechanism, and to also provide improved wireless communication by integrating the reradiating antenna as shown. The charge circuit is connected between the inductive charge coupling mechanism and a port for receiving power.
Currently, no iOS device features wireless charging. But hopefully the patent is a sign of good things to come – especially as the dock connector has lost its importance with the advent of iCloud and wireless syncing.
Before using an iPhone, the Touchstone inductive charging system was one of my favorite things about using the ill-fated Palm Pre. I’d like to see how Apple could make the technology work.
Along with the induction charging system, Apple was awarded 27 new patents. Some of the new patents include scrolling lists, rotating and scaling documents on touchscreen displays, and a light-sensitive display.