Apple Patent Filing Describes Wireless Power Transfer System That Can Prioritize Devices

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.

Related Roundups: iPhone 8, iPhone X

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Best Wireless Chargers for iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus

With the release of the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus, Apple now supports Qi-based wireless inductive charging on its latest phones, and that means charging pads have quickly become popular accessories for iPhone owners.


Apple's favored partners for wireless charging pads are Belkin and mophie, and Apple is carrying a $60 charger from each company in its own online and retail stores. But there are lots of other options available on the market, and we've had a chance to try out a number of them, so we're rounding them up in this guide, which we'll continue to update going forward.
Continue reading Best Wireless Chargers for iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus

Apple Acquires Wireless Charging Company PowerbyProxi

Apple recently purchased PowerbyProxi, a company that designs wireless power solutions, reports New Zealand website Stuff. Apple's senior vice president of hardware engineering Dan Riccio told Stuff that the PowerbyProxi team will be a "great addition as Apple works to create a wireless future."

"We want to bring truly effortless charging to more places and more customers around the world," Riccio added.


PowerbyProxi was founded in 2007 to develop wireless charging technology that lets people charge smartphones and other devices without requiring a cord. PowerbyProxi has developed the Proxi-Module, a modular wireless power system that can adapt and integrate into a wide variety of products and situations, delivering up to 100 watts of power to devices like drones and robots.

The Proxi-Module, which features a modular, waterproof design that lets it adapt to a range of use cases, is said to offer the highest power density of any solution on the market with an end to end efficiency of 91 percent, offering "unprecedented performance" with reduced power and heat losses.

PowerbyProxi has also been working on the development of the Wireless Power Consortium's future Qi wireless charging standard and has received accolades and funding for its work. Apple is also a member of the Wireless Power Consortium as of February 2017.

In a statement, PowerbyProxi founder Fady Mishriki said his team is "thrilled" to be joining Apple.
"The team and I are thrilled to join Apple. There is tremendous alignment with our values, and we are excited to continue our growth in Auckland and contribute to the great innovation in wireless charging coming out of New Zealand."
Apple in September unveiled the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, and all three new devices are equipped with Qi-based wireless charging capabilities that allow them to charge from Qi-certified wireless chargers.

Apple is already developing its own wireless charging mat that can charge the iPhone, the Apple Watch, and the AirPods at the same time, and with the addition of PowerbyProxi, Apple could expand into a range of other charging accessories for both home and retail use.

It's not clear how much Apple paid to purchase PowerbyProxi, nor did Dan Riccio elaborate on how the PowerbyProxi technology will be used by Apple in the future.


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IKEA Launches New Apple-Inspired Ad Campaign for Qi Charging Furniture

IKEA today has launched a new "tribute campaign" to Apple and the inductive wireless charging features of the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X, playing off of popular Apple catchphrases like "This changes everything" and "Think different" (via DesignTAXI and The Verge).

Images via The Verge

The campaign is called "This Charges Everything," and includes multiple other references to Apple's advertising campaigns of years past, as well as a few jokes aimed at the internet's wish for AirPower to be called "Apple Juice."


The new IKEA ads are aimed at the RIGGAD LED lamp with Qi wireless charging, which runs for $69.99, and the VARV Table lamp with Qi wireless charging, which runs for $79.99. Other Apple references include: "One more thing... it's also a lamp," "Link different," and a question asking Siri "what lamp should I buy?"

IKEA has quite a few pieces of furniture and home accessories with Qi pads, including bedside tables, floor lamps, and individual charging pads (single and triple) that you can place anywhere.


IKEA teamed up with advertising agency ACNE to build the campaign for "This Charges Everything." According to Morten Kjær, Creative Director at IKEA Creative Hub, “IKEA has been very progressive with wireless charging, and we are thrilled that new iPhone owners finally can make use of one of the most powerful lamps we’ve ever made.”


The new campaign has been shared to time with today's launch of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which are the first of Apple's iPhones to ever support wireless charging through the Qi standard. When it launches in November, the iPhone X will also support the feature and will be able to charge through IKEA's furniture. For a look at current and upcoming Qi-supported charging pads, check out our roundup here.

Related Roundups: iPhone 8, iPhone X
Tags: wireless charging, Qi, Ikea
Buyer's Guide: iPhone (Buy Now)

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Pi Charger Uses Qi Standard to Extend Wireless Charging Reach Beyond Current Mats

With the launch of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, Apple added inductive wireless charging support to its mobile devices for the first time. While the feature brought Apple's phones up to speed with existing Qi-compatible charging standards, the announcement fell short of some expectations that this year Apple would introduce technology allowing iPhones to be powered wirelessly at a distance, rather than having to use a charging mat.

However, Pi is a California-based startup that aims to break from that limitation with the Pi Charger – a cone-shaped tabletop device that combines Qi-based resonant induction with a special beam-forming algorithm that allows it to charge multiple devices within about a foot in any direction.


The Pi might not reach the distances claimed by Energous' WattUp technology, which uses radio frequencies to charge devices from up to 15 feet away, but it does offer more flexibility than existing pads that devices must be directly placed upon.

In a demo at TechCrunch's Disrupt event, the company showed that a Qi-compatible phone can be placed within a foot of a Pi and it will start charging. Devices can be located anywhere within a 12-inch sphere of influence around the charging hub and in different orientations. The closer the device to the Pi, the faster it charges, with a gradual drop-off in charging speed the further away the phone is.
"Magnetic fields are the best way to send meaningful energy to phones, tablets, and other portable electronics," said Lixin Shi, Pi's CTO and co-founder. "The hard part was figuring out how to make magnetic charging more flexible, multi-device, and extend its useful range. It took us over a year to complete the mathematical proof that makes it all possible."
The team behind Pi said they've yet to settle on an exact price for the charger, but they expect it to ship for under $200 sometime in 2018. As for Apple, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest it has partnered with Energous to work on bringing a truly wire-free, over-the-air charging technology to its consumer devices, but we'll likely have to wait for at least another year to see the possible fruits of those labors.

Related Roundups: iPhone 8, iPhone X
Tags: wireless charging, Qi, Pi
Buyer's Guide: iPhone (Buy Now)

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Pi Charger Uses Qi Standard to Extend Wireless Charging Reach Beyond Current Mats

With the launch of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, Apple added inductive wireless charging support to its mobile devices for the first time. While the feature brought Apple's phones up to speed with existing Qi-compatible charging standards, the announcement fell short of some expectations that this year Apple would introduce technology allowing iPhones to be powered wirelessly at a distance, rather than having to use a charging mat.

However, Pi is a California-based startup that aims to break from that limitation with the Pi Charger – a cone-shaped tabletop device that combines Qi-based resonant induction with a special beam-forming algorithm that allows it to charge multiple devices within about a foot in any direction.


The Pi might not reach the distances claimed by Energous' WattUp technology, which uses radio frequencies to charge devices from up to 15 feet away, but it does offer more flexibility than existing pads that devices must be directly placed upon.

In a demo at TechCrunch's Disrupt event, the company showed that a Qi-compatible phone can be placed within a foot of a Pi and it will start charging. Devices can be located anywhere within a 12-inch sphere of influence around the charging hub and in different orientations. The closer the device to the Pi, the faster it charges, with a gradual drop-off in charging speed the further away the phone is.
"Magnetic fields are the best way to send meaningful energy to phones, tablets, and other portable electronics," said Lixin Shi, Pi's CTO and co-founder. "The hard part was figuring out how to make magnetic charging more flexible, multi-device, and extend its useful range. It took us over a year to complete the mathematical proof that makes it all possible."
The team behind Pi said they've yet to settle on an exact price for the charger, but they expect it to ship for under $200 sometime in 2018. As for Apple, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest it has partnered with Energous to work on bringing a truly wire-free, over-the-air charging technology to its consumer devices, but we'll likely have to wait for at least another year to see the possible fruits of those labors.

Related Roundups: iPhone 8, iPhone X
Tags: wireless charging, Qi, Pi
Buyer's Guide: iPhone (Buy Now)

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Here’s a Look at Discounted and Upcoming Qi Charging Pads for iPhone 8 and iPhone X

Apple on Tuesday announced the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, all of which will launch with inductive wireless charging support on Qi-compatible accessories. Since Apple's first-party "AirPower" mat won't be available to buy until 2018, new iPhone owners will be left to sift through the current market of Qi-compatible wireless charging pads, which is pretty large.

For this reason, we've rounded up a few Qi accessories that are currently discounted and that should work with the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, most hitting below the $30 range. We've also included a few Qi charging pads that are confirmed iPhone 8/X compatible that accessory makers like Belkin and Mophie announced this week alongside Apple's big unveiling of each smartphone. Since virtually any Qi-supported charging pad should work with the new iPhones, buying decisions will come down to personal preferences of design, size, and color.

Qi Chargers Under $60





Choetech's T511 charging pad comes in blue and black, and includes a battery light indicator on the front side of the device to confirm that the inductive wireless charging connection has been made with the smartphone. The small pad measures at 3.6 inches on all sides, and is one of the most popular and inexpensive Qi pads currently on Amazon. The downside is that it doesn't come with a micro-USB cable, which you'll need to connect the pad to a wall outlet or USB port, priced at about $5-$10 on Amazon.


Aukey's wireless charger is slightly smaller than Choetech's with a 3.4-inch diameter across its circular footprint. It has a flashing LED to indicate when the smartphone sitting atop it is charging, and the USB power cable is included.


Anker's fast charging pad delivers 10 watts of power to smartphones, but will likely function like other 7.5W mats when used with the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, since those devices are believed to reach only half (7.5W) of current Qi standards (15W). Anker's solution has non-disruptive LEDs surrounding the pad to indicate the smartphone's charge, a non-slip pad, and measures 3.4 inches on all sides.



Samsung even has a few Qi-compatible charing accessory options that should work with iPhone 8 and iPhone X, including a Fast Wireless Charging Pad (again note such fast charging features will be incompatible with iPhone devices). This one is available in black sapphire and white, includes an LED indicator halo, and is slightly more elevated in comparison to other Qi mats. You can find the same Samsung accessory for nearly 50 percent off from select Walmart resellers, as well.


Incipio has quite a few Qi chargers, two of which it lists as iPhone-compatible options: the Ghost Qi 3-Coil base and Ghost Qi 15W base. Both are priced at $59.99, with the standout differences related to the design and shape of each base. The 3-Coil is a rectangle measuring 5.37 inches by 2.73 inches, while the 15W is a simple 3.5-inch square. Both come in black, have the usual LED indicator lights, and provide audio cues when the charging begins and ends.

Upcoming Qi Chargers





Opening for orders this Friday, September 15, Belkin's BOOST UP Wireless Charging Pad has been specifically designed for the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X. Belkin said it worked closely with Apple when designing and optimizing the pad, and it'll provide charge to the iPhone through "most lightweight cases" up to 3mm thick. The 7.5W pad has a battery indicator LED, non-slip surface, and AC adapter included. Belkin's accessory will be sold on Apple.com and in Apple stores as well.


Mophie was directly mentioned during Apple's keynote as an accessory maker coming out with support for the iPhone 8 and X's wireless charging features, with a device called the Mophie Wireless Charging Base. A pre-order date has not yet been confirmed, but we do know Mophie's solution provides the expected 7.5W of power to an iPhone when placed on its small, circular, and rubberized base. It'll also be available from Apple.

If you want to buy a Mophie Qi charging pad right now, the company's Charge Force Wireless Charging Base is a universal Qi solution with noted support for the upcoming iPhones, priced at $39.95 from B&H Photo.



Griffin's upcoming PowerBlock Wireless Qi Charging Pad provides 15W of power to compatible Qi devices when placed on its synthetic wool surface. Griffin notes compatibility with all of the new iPhones, but no release date has been confirmed.


RavPower has revealed a new Qi charging pad, confirming compatibility with Apple devices and coming sometime this fall. RavPower's base is a bit unique in comparison with other companies since it can both sit flat on a surface, or act as a sort of iPhone dock with an angled stand. The accessory maker said the product will be available in either a standalone charging pad or pad + stand bundle.

Public Qi Chargers




There will be multiple options for wirelessly charging your iPhone when you're out and about in public spaces, thanks to the confirmation of Apple support from a few inductive wireless charging companies. One is Aircharge, which confirmed that iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X owners will be able to use the company's own app to locate nearby public Aircharge locations, which amount to 5,000 around the world. These are in restaurants, cafes, shops, hotels, airports, and train stations.
"We're a long time partner of Apple via its MFi program and we're excited Qi wireless charging is now a standard feature in the new iPhone models. The inclusion of wireless charging from a major mobile phone and tech manufacturer like Apple will accelerate and drive widespread consumer awareness and mainstream adoption", said Steven Liquorish, founder and CEO of Aircharge.
Powermat made a similar announcement this week, confirming that owners of the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X will be able to charge their smartphones on Powermats "around the world." Powermat locations support the Qi standard, and the company has a supported app so users can discover where the closest pad is to their location, including places like Starbucks and Samsung stores.

AirPower



Of course, Apple's own first-party solution for your home will arrive sometime next year. Apple's mat, unlike the ones mentioned above, will be able to support as many as three Qi devices, and Apple has shown an iPhone, Apple Watch Series 3, and AirPods all charging at once on AirPower. When one device is placed next to the iPhone X (or 8/8 Plus), they alert the iPhone, which displays a notification message on the lock screen confirming the presence of the Apple Watch/AirPods along with the battery level.

Although unconfirmed by Apple, Macworld has reported that all previous generations of the Apple Watch will work on AirPower, including Series 2 and Series 0 devices.

For more information on prices for current and upcoming Qi inductive wireless chargers -- which includes bedside tables and lamps from IKEA -- check out the MacRumors Deals Roundup.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of the these vendors.

Related Roundups: iPhone 8, iPhone X
Tags: wireless charging, Qi

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Apple Unveils ‘AirPower’ Multi-Device Wireless Charging Accessory Coming Next Year

At its iPhone-centric event that saw the unveiling of the new iPhone X and iPhone 8 equipped with Qi wireless charging capabilities, Apple announced a new wireless charging accessory called "AirPower."

Designed as a simple oval-shaped white charging mat, AirPower is able to charge the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 inductively. It also works with the Apple Watch Series 3 models and a new AirPods charging case that was briefly mentioned during the keynote.


The new AirPods charging case is identical to the current case, with the exception of a new indicator light located on the outside of the body and the wireless charging capabilities.

In addition to being able to charge through Apple's AirPower charging mat, the new iPhone X and the iPhone 8 will also be able to charge using Qi-based charging accessories. Apple will partner with companies like Mophie and Belkin to create iPhone-specific accessories, but all Qi chargers should work as event videos showed the iPhone charging in cafes and other locations.

According to Apple, its AirPower charging mat uses a new kind of charging standard that is able to support multiple devices at once, so it won't be immediately available.

Apple plans to ship the AirPower in 2018, but a more specific launch date hasn't been announced. Pricing is alwo unknown at this time.


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Images Claim to Show Wireless Charging Components Destined for the ‘iPhone 8’

Images claiming to offer a glimpse of the wireless charging circuitry included in Apple's upcoming "iPhone 8" have been shared on Chinese microblogging platform Weibo today by technology website ZEALER (via iClarified).


The two photos show several assembled inductive charging kits in a plastic tray and a black PCB board of bare circuitry modeled on the assembled kits. As with most alleged leaks that appear on Weibo, it's extremely difficult to tell whether the images are authentic, but we're covering them here for completion.


KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has claimed the iPhone 8 and its companion devices, the "iPhone 7s" and the "iPhone 7s Plus" will all adopt glass bodies with metal frames to facilitate WPC-standard wireless charging functionality. The WPC-standard refers to the Wireless Power Consortium, which supports the Qi wireless charging functionality built into many Android devices.

According to Kuo, wireless charging will be enabled through an optional accessory sold alongside the new iPhones, rather than be included in the box. Separately, Apple blogger John Gruber has suggested that the accessory might not be available in September when the iPhones are expected to launch, but might ship later in the year instead alongside an iOS 11.1 software update.


Fast Company also reported that software issues, not components, would be the reason behind a possible delay in enabling wireless charging in the phones. According to their sources, if the software isn't ready, wireless charging could be unavailable when the phone first begins shipping.

Early rumors about the OLED "iPhone 8" and the iterative "S" cycle upgrades to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus suggested Apple was considering a long-range charging feature, but that technology is yet to mature and there are likely challenges to overcome before it's ready for inclusion in a device like the iPhone. As such, Qi wireless charging is in line with rumors that have predicted the iPhone 8 will support inductive charging rather than a true wireless charging feature.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8
Tag: wireless charging

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Apple Has at Least Five Different Groups Working on Wireless Charging Ahead of iPhone 8

Apple is widely expected to launch its first iPhone with wireless charging capabilities later this year, but rumors remain conflicting about whether the feature will be based on inductive technology, which would require a charging pad or puck, or a truly wireless long-range charging solution.


Apple recently joined the Wireless Power Consortium, a group of over 200 companies backing the Qi wireless charging standard, perhaps signaling that it is leaning towards an inductive solution. After all, the Apple Watch uses Qi, albeit a tweaked version that only works with Apple's own charger.

Qi, pronounced "chee," is capable of scaling from less than 1 watt to more than 2,000 watts of power, making the standard more than adequate enough for charging any smartphone. Its backing members include Samsung, LG, HTC, Qualcomm, Dell, Canon, Sony, Huawei, Apple supplier Luxshare, and others.

Apple is known to test many different technologies behind closed doors, some of which never see the light of day. Reuters today, citing "a person with knowledge of the matter," said there are still "at least five different groups" working on wireless charging technology within the company ahead of new iPhones.

Just three months ago, Apple was said to have more than 10 different iPhone prototypes under development, so it could be experimenting with different charging solutions for future devices; however, with iPhone 8 production expected to begin relatively soon, Apple has likely already finalized the hardware.

Apple will reportedly begin production of its upcoming iPhones as early as next quarter, so the first part leaks will likely begin to surface over the next few months, which should give us a better idea of what to expect.

Apple is rumored to launch a 5.8-inch iPhone with an edge-to-edge OLED display, alongside updated 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models, in September. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said all three iPhones will feature wireless charging, while some reports have said only the OLED model will be capable.


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