Apple came up with a clever new idea that could be the future of wireless charging

iMac ProKif Leswing/Business Insider

  • Apple submitted a patent that shows how desktop computers, like an iMac, could transmit wireless power to nearby devices, like mice and keyboards.
  • The technology would prevent you having to charge your nearby and compatible peripherals at all.
  • As great as this seems, it's still just a patent that, like many patents, may never see the light of day.

Apple is looking into technology that can transmit wireless power from its computers or displays to nearby devices, like a wireless keyboard or mouse, according to an Apple patent application published by the US Patent and Trademark Office that was first spotted by Apple Insider.

The idea is to give wireless power to nearby devices so that their batteries don't need to be recharged.

Unlike wireless charging for smartphones or smartwatches - and now the new $200 wireless charging AirPods - the technology described in Apple's patent wouldn't require a wireless charging mat. Instead, wireless power would be transmitted over a short distance from a desktop computer or display.

apple wireless charging patentUSPTO

It's an interesting idea that would have been great for Apple's Magic Mouse 2, which has a charging port on the bottom of the mouse that prevents you from using the mouse at all while it's charging.

It also sparks the potential for wirelessly charging other devices, like an iPhone or AirPods. At the same time, it's unclear if a wireless charging system like the one described in Apple's patent could deliver enough power to charge larger devices.

apple magic mouse 2YouTube/Tony H

It seems unlikely that existing devices would be able to get the wireless power feature with something like a software update, as the patent describes that devices need specific hardware to receive power - and that's if this feature ever makes it past the patent stage and into store shelves.

Some accessory makers have devised other ways to deliver wireless power to mice through a mouse pad. The Logitech PowerPlay Wireless Charging pad uses the standard Qi wireless charging standard to continuously deliver power to a compatible mouse that also supports wireless charging, like Logitech's own G903 and G703 gaming mice.

logitech powerplay wireless charging mouse matLogitech

Gaming accessory maker Corsair also has its own Qi wireless charging mouse pad that's similar to Logitech's, except the pad can only charge mice and other compatible Qi devices on a certain spot on the pad rather than the entire surface.

Either way, Apple's patent is just that: a patent, and it doesn't meant that we'll see the feature soon, or at all.

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