Apple scores patent for inductive charging station

Pretty soon, Apple's iOS devices may not need charging cables. Wireless power, here we come – assuming that Apple doesn't sit on this patent. 

Amy Sancetta/AP/File
Chris Cioban, manager of the Verizon store in Beachwood, Ohio, holds up an Apple iPhone 4G.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office awarded Apple 27 new patents on Tuesday, but one in particular suggests the company is moving toward a relatively underused technology – wireless charging stations.

Simply deemed “Antenna insert,” patent number 8,207,906 gives Apple exclusive rights an inductive charging dock, which hypothetically allows iPhone users to wirelessly charge their devices on docking stations with reradiating antennas and unique circuit connectors.

“The one or more reradiating antennas are configured to wirelessly couple to the internal antenna in the portable electronic device,” the patient filing states, “and reradiate RF signals transmitted from and received by the internal antenna in absence of wired connectivity.”

The charging dock would allow users to charge devices with different styles and functions, including phones and media players.

“Ensuring that all these various types and shaped of handheld devices can maintain proper antenna operation when coupled to various types of accessories would be advantageous,” the documents continue. 

The patent also gives Apple rights to new cable adapter and insert designs.

Apple Senior Acoustics Engineer Victor Tiscareno, John Tang, and Vice President of Product Design for iPhone/iPod engineering, Stephen Zadesky, are credited as the patent’s inventors. The patent was filed in January, 2008.

The blog Patently Apple, which first reported Apple’s antenna insert patent, also says the company has been granted rights “relating to devices with touch-screen displays, and more particularly to scrolling lists and to translating, rotating, and scaling electronic documents on devices with touch-screen displays.”

It is unclear when Apple will implement these new technologies into its catalog of products, but Patently Apple predicts this “opens the door for its release in the not-too-distant future.”

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