Apple has been doing docks since the launch of the first-generation iPod, and there even was a time when these were bundled with the mobile devices that you bought. We’ve also seen Apple building charging docks for every iPhone and iPad manufactured as well, but what we’ve never seen is Apple go beyond the usual “desk stand” concept of the dock, or at least until now.
Apple filed a patent for a Smart Dock back in 2012, and this just got awarded by the USPTO. As it turns out, this new type of dock doesn’t have the usual cradle design that we know, but instead allows you to lay the phone flat on-top of it. The Smart Dock would have sensors that allow it to detect the phones orientation, and would also include a processor, memory and all the capabilities required for syncing and even performing phone diagnostics. Now the most interesting part of this patent is the use of inductive charging for the iPhone once laid on the special Smart Dock, which Apple has been reluctant to adopt over the last couple of years.
At this point it’s hard to tell if Apple will offer wireless charging soon, or through a special case that would work just as well as we’ve seen on recent Lumia smartphones. Just remember that some Apple patents never leave the drawing board as well.