Smart Dock with Orientation-Aware Functionality, Induction Charging Detailed in Apple Patent

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple has been awarded a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (via AppleInsider) detailing a flat smart dock that would be able to determine the orientation a device is placed in and perform actions such as induction charging, data syncing, diagnostics testing, and more.

    The patent, which was originally filed in 2012, details a dock that includes components such as a processor, memory, internal power supply, and multiple sensors among other components. The dock is described as being a central point in the transfer of data between a user's device and a host device such as a computer. Data itself would transfer between two devices through a wire such as a Lightning cable or through wireless networking.

    In terms of identifying different orientations, the patent states that the flat dock would be able to recognize factors including the rotational position and the proximity of a device. For example, if a user leaves a device face down, the dock would perform charging, whereas leaving a device face up would allow for data syncing and charging at the same time. A device on the smart dock would provide on-screen information about the current action being performed as well.
    Support for multiple devices on the dock is described in the patent, as the dock would be able to perform actions such as data transfers and charging on devices in close proximity to each other. Transfers between a host device and a primary device placed on the charging surface are also described as a capability of the smart dock.

    It is unknown whether Apple plans to create such product or not, but the company has shown strong interest in some of the technologies described in the patent. It was reported earlier this week by The New York Times that Apple was testing induction charging among other methods for its upcoming "iWatch" project. This, coupled with past rumors stating that the iWatch will serve as an accessory to iOS devices would make it a prime candidate to benefit from the functionalities of the smart dock described in the patent.

    Apple also filed a patent for a separate smart dock last December, which emphasized voice recognition and single-device use through a regular multi-pin connector. The existence of either device would be of a new effort for the company, as Apple currently sells docks with limited functionality for the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s. Other accessories such as the iHome family of clock-radios and speaker systems offer a bit more functionality, but very little in the context of deep interaction with a device.

    Article Link: Smart Dock with Orientation-Aware Functionality, Induction Charging Detailed in Apple Patent
  2. macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2012
    Kuala Lumpur
    is that a camera? 2014 is not the year of tv after all
  3. macrumors 604


    Feb 23, 2010
    No no no no.

    I remember people posting here that that only recently, that induction charging was stupid and something most people here, who posted on the subject, don't want, and said how rubbish it was as a concept.
  4. macrumors 65816


    Apr 15, 2012
    There you go, once more you have outsmarted the macrumors forums! Congrats!
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 3, 2012
    Looks like old tech to me. Induction charging sounds great but what do you do when you are out and about/travelling and want to charge, you still need the cable and brick to do so.

    It always sounded great to have induction and data transfer but this is an old patent and i highly doubt any connection to future products now. It's a different way of doing something that is done so cheaply already with very simple cables it makes no sense to reinvent the wheel.
  6. macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2012
    why would I want a slate like shape and cable for inductive charging. can't take it with me when travelling too much hassle imo, not as elegant as the usb cable and charger.
  7. macrumors 68040


    Nov 8, 2007
    That's why you'll still have a lightning port! Magical eh?

    Where's your logic?


    Yes cause they will completely get rid of the lightning port and make you carry this thing around.

    Are people getting dumber by the day?
  8. macrumors G5


    Nov 14, 2011
  9. macrumors 68020

    Sep 7, 2011
    When did the logical conclusion become, if they put induction charging in a phone, they lose the ability to plug it in?

    seriously MR? Where did your collective critical thinking skills disapear to. its not one or the other

    What I find absolutely amusing as heck, is the Photo attachment, Showing a BB style keyboard phone in an Apple patent application.

    Maybe Apple was also working on a keyboard based phone at somepoint during the iPhone development.
    Wouldn't that be something
  10. macrumors 601


    Sep 16, 2007
    Northeastern Ohio
    The thing I disliked about induction charging was the way it always had to sit in order for it to charge. It always had to sit in the center or a certain way. I'd like to just set it down and without effort, let it charge.

    I like the idea for witricity. Would be better for the rumored iWatch since you'd never have to take it off to charge it and could leech off your phones battery.
  11. macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2010
    I don't see the point in making the charging station 'Smart', with almost all my devices data syncing and the like is done wirelessly, the only reason I plug a device in is to charge it. If the only thing being delivered is power you make the induction charging of devices a standard and then every station can charge every device, like, I don't know, a usb cable and plug (I know, I know, there are of course some exceptions!) After this point life is great, induction charging stations get built into everything from your desk to your bedside table and you never have to worry about carrying a cable around again, just put your device down in your hotel room, or the specific spot in your car etc. and it charges.....

    ......well, not your apple device, that would of course require a slightly different charging standard which isn't compatible with anything else but does charge slightly faster than the standard :D
  12. macrumors 68020


    Dec 9, 2008
    Hill Valley, California
  13. macrumors 68030

    Feb 17, 2009
    So, your conclusion is a reduction in that the introduction of induction will be the opposite of deductive reasoning?
  14. macrumors member

    Apr 17, 2012
  15. macrumors 68000


    Jan 7, 2014
    In between a rock and a hard place
    That was the first thing I noticed. I thought someone mistakenly posted an RIM patent.
  16. macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
  17. macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2011
  18. macrumors 6502

    Jul 15, 2007
    I remember when the first iPod was released and people posting that it will destroy Apple and its computing platforms.

    Same with the iPhone. They said it needed a HDD like the iPod classic to be a success!

    And the iPad. It was just a big iPod Touch.

    iWatch will just be a slimmed down iPhone with no features :p
  19. macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2011
    Cool but...

    Microsoft had a LOT of prior art with their old Surface Table product and showed a lot of demos, videos and prototypes of putting devices on to surfaces and having them interact with and show additional information on them, etc. Of course if Microsoft was dumb not to patent protect all that IP, then its fair game for Apple to swoop in and steal the ideas officially.

    Motorola had a Droid android phone that when docked one way would show different information then when docked another way.

    Induction charging is already done done.

    Not sure what is "new and novel" here that Apple is trying to introduce, other then the fact they are late to the whole induction charging and wireless docking game.
  20. macrumors 68020

    Mar 23, 2006
    If it's an Apple patent why does it have a drawing of a Blackberry instead of an iPhone? Either way I'd love it if they introduced inductive charging with the iPhone 6. Doesn't have to be in the phone itself. They could come up with a clever iPhone leather case that also acts as a charger but doesn't block up your lightning port.
  21. macrumors member


    Jul 31, 2013
    The only way I'll fall in love with induction charging is if it forms part of the furniture I use.

    What I need is a discreet power cable and a range of about 2 inches above the induction surface and then I'd be happy... I could fit it under coffee tables, into arm rests...

    Range is the only thing that stops me caring about it.
  22. macrumors 6502

    Mar 12, 2007
    I agree.
    And how much would I to have to pay for this platform to charge my device? $50? $60? Just to charge my device? No thanks.
    Plugging in a lightning cable is "free" and takes about 2 seconds.

    Neat technology, though.
  23. macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2012
    the logic and benefit of having induction charging in my mind is that the phone would have no port and could make way for a waterproof iphone (maybe) and obviously slimmer design, knowing Apple obsession with it.

    and inductive charging could come as a convenient to just put the phone and automatically charge, but comes the problem with the charging device itself.

    even this patent describe different way of using inductive charging, whether the user want to charge & sync or only charge. so clearly Apple is interested in this concept.

    Sure the lightning port is here to stay for the foreseeable future, but if this inductive charging takes off, you'll never know what could happen.
  24. macrumors demi-god


    Jun 9, 2007
    Device engineer 30+ yrs, touchscreens 24+.
    Induction charging on the Palm Pre/Pixi Touchstone power base felt ... luxurious. Perhaps partly because of the way the magnets oriented the phone on a nice slant so you could easily read the display. It also automatically switched to speakerphone mode.

    My son-in-law kept bases by his bed, in his car, and at the office.

    The people most against something, likely never had it.

    It's like someone saying "Why do you need steering wheel controls? The radio is right there. And what if I wanted a passenger to tune it?"

    You don't NEED anything. But boy oh boy once you've had it, you hate going without it. And the old method still works as well.
  25. macrumors 6502

    Feb 22, 2010
    I don't see anywhere detailed on "HOW" they will do it.
    This once again, and Apple is not the only company guilty of it, patenting an *IDEA*.

    What kind of sensor, where does software come into play, is the dock smart or not?

    This is a broad patent with no specifics.

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