Sources say Apple is working with US and Asian suppliers to bring long-distance charging to the iPhone and iPad as soon as 2017. Bloomberg reports that there are many challenges standing in the way of progress though. There are many physical limitations inherent in wireless charging systems, particularly energy loss over distance, and Apple is very concerned over this.
While Samsung and other electronics manufacturers have previously released wireless charging systems, Apple only recently released inductive technology with Apple Watch. The Magnetic Charging Cable included with Apple Watch contains magnets that interface with matching magnets in Apple Watch to correctly align the devices inductive power elements, maximizing energy transfer efficiency. But since it is low power it takes much longer to charge comparatively with other Apple products.
Imagine being able to charge an iPhone from across the room while it’s being held rather than having to plug it in or rest it on a charging plate. Or, picture walking into a room and having an iPhone automatically connect to a charger within range without even having to think about it.
A number of patent filings by Apple, point to ongoing research in a variety of disciplines. One of the most relevant is a patent dating back to 2012, which offers a “realistic and practical approach” to creating a wireless power field effective at distances up to one meter.
(Credit: Patently Apple)
Apple has been rumored to be working on a wireless charging system for years, one that will supply enough power over distance to power it’s iPhone and iPads and that might possibly use the iMac as a type of wireless base station.