Apple is working on wireless charging technology that may allow you to charge your smartphone mid-air, away from your charger sometime in future. This wireless charging won’t be like what Samsung and LG offer on its latest flagships that requires you to place the phone on the charger.
The technique was laid out in a patent that Apple filed in US and first reported by AppleInsider. Titled “Wireless Charging and Communications Systems With Dual-Frequency Patch Antennas”, the patent lists several ideas how the company can make the next level of wireless charging work.
It shows working at the heart is a basic cellular and Wi-Fi technology similar to what mobile phone towers and Wi-Fi routers already use to route calls or internet data. The only difference is, instead of transferring voice and data signals, these cellular (700MHz-2700MHz) and Wi-Fi signals (2.4 GHz-60GHz) will transfer electric power.
At the receiving end will be a Patch Antenna slapped on the phone’s back, literally made in form of a patch that could take the charge from wireless signal and give it to the battery.
The fact that true wireless charging is nearly impossible to achieve, even on paper, it does makes the Apple patent a stuff of innovation. But it is still a patent and not a working technology so take this with a bag of salt.
The concept of directing all the signal strength in a particular direction is termed beem steering and Apple’s AirPort routers already use them to max out communication speeds.
But the patent lists new technologies like dual mode circuitry, dual-polarization, dual-frequency patch antennas consistent with beam forming layouts and talks of integrating the communications and power transfer circuitry for the wireless charging to happen in mid-air. The transmitter will communicate with the patch antenna to effectively locate the device in its range and direct all the power to it, maximizing the power transferred.
Though theoretically, Apple could make this work on paper. However, the charging power carried by these waves to the nearby mobile phone would be much lesser in comparison to that transferred by your regular charger.
Though Apple might be able to achieve better results someday using highly efficient components but the technology is highly unlikely to make its way on the upcoming anniversary edition of the 2017.