Wireless charging solutions, like the Touchstone for Palm devices, are certainly impressive pieces of tech, but they have their limitations. For the ones we’ve seen, your smartphone must be right up by the charging surface, and the charging device itself is still attached to a cord for mains power like a normal phone charger; all the wireless charger does is save you from physically connecting a charging cable to your handset. Apple’s got some ideas that could turn wireless charging on its head, doing away with cords entirely and dramatically increasing the range over which smartphones could be charged.
A recent patent application shows Apple detailing a system for distributing power via near field magnetic resonance. Unlike the systems we’ve seen, NFMR would allow power to sent from up to a meter away; instead of needing to rest your smartphone on a charging pad, your entire desk would now be in charger range.
Beyond the comparatively long range of the NFMR system, Apple envisions a system where the charger itself need no longer be a stand-alone device. Instead, you could have power sources built into things like laptops or monitors; devices you’d likely be bringing your smartphone near, anyway. A charged laptop connecting to a smartphone with NFMR finally becomes a fully wireless power system.
Now, just because Apple’s filed this application doesn’t mean we can expect to see an NFMR charging system in the iPhone anytime soon, but this is one tech we’re really interested in seeing get developed further; the range increase alone has the potential to let wireless smartphone charging take off in a big way.