Two days ago, we reported that Energous had received FCC certification for the company’s first-generation WattUp Mid Field transmitter, which powers up devices at a distance of up to three feet away. As noted by VentureBeat, this week also saw two new Apple wireless power patent applications published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
While the patents don’t confirm anything on their own, rumors have floated since 2015 that Energous has been working with Apple on a truly wireless charging solution for future mobile devices, so they may offer an idea of what users can expect, should the rumors prove accurate.
The first patent, covered by Patently Apple, describes a way of creating custom schedules for a charger capable of sending power to multiple devices such as phones, laptops, tablets, and watches over a “wireless power transfer link”. The power profiler works so as to remember the order of priority for charging the devices – if the user wants their Apple Watch to be fully charged before their iPad, for instance.
In another example, the user can set more nuanced preferences for charging priority, by requesting, say, that their watch is charged first but only if their iPad has at least 25 percent battery power; or requesting that their iPhone takes charging priority over all else during the evening, but only if their calendar indicates that they will be out of the office the next morning.
The second patent is less detailed, but describes a wireless power transmitting device that can function as a standalone adaptor, or send power a wireless charging mat, and in some embodiments, can be hidden in furniture or incorporated into a vehicle interior, in order to charge a “wireless power receiving device”. The receiving device is described as being capable of pausing wireless power transmission and sending information back to the power source if necessary.
Both patents were filed in June of this year, have not yet been granted, and as with all Apple patents, may never appear as consumer devices, but the power scheduling systems described above may yet prove to be the link to Energous’ wire-free solutions. Whether Apple decides 2018 is the year to build upon the contact-based wireless charging capability it introduced with the iPhone 8 and iPhone X remains to be seen.