Apple has been granted yet another patent (number US 11611239 B2) that’s one of several that hints that at the abandoned AirPower project could be revived. The patent is dubbed “wireless charging system with solenoids.”
About the AirPower
The AirPower (pictured in an image released by Apple almost four years ago) was originally announced in September 2017 alongside the iPhone X. It was supposed to be able to charge a Qi-compatible iPhone, an Apple Watch, and a pair of AirPods (in a special wireless charging case) at the same time regardless of where they were placed on the pad.
However, there were constant rumors of production, engineering, and manufacturing difficulties. Seems those rumors were right, as Apple announced in March 2018 that work on the device was being canceled as, in Apple’s words, “will not achieve our high standards.” But, hey, the original HomePod was discontinued, then revived, so why not the AirPower?
About the patent
In the patent, Apple says that a wireless charging system, a wireless power transmitting device such as a device with a charging surface or magnetic charging cable may wirelessly transmit power to a portable electronic device. The portable electronic device may receive the wirelessly transmitted power and may use this power to charge an internal battery or to power the device.
Apple says that, in some situations, it may be challenging to achieve desired levels of charging efficiency due to the way in which the portable electronic device and wireless power transmitting device are oriented with respect to each other and the configurations used for the wireless charging components in these devices. The tech giant wants to change this if/when it releases a product such as the AirPower.
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “A wireless power transmitting device may transmit wireless power signals to a wireless power receiving device. The wireless power receiving device may have a housing. A display may be mounted in the housing on a front face of the device. A rear housing wall on a rear face of the device may be provided with a wireless power receiving solenoid. The solenoid may have a linear strip shape that extends along a longitudinal axis.
“The longitudinal axis may extend perpendicularly to a wrist strap coupled to the housing. The wireless power receiving solenoid may have opposing first and second ends. The wireless power transmitting device may have a wireless power transmitting solenoid with opposing first and second ends that are configured to transmit the wireless power signals respectively to the first and second ends of the wireless power receiving device when the wireless power receiving solenoid is within the cradle.”