Apple Wins Patent on Long-Delayed AirPods Wireless Charging Case and AirPower

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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today published a newly granted Apple patent related to an "inductively chargeable earbud case." While the AirPods and AirPower are not named in the patent, the illustrations clearly show an AirPods-like wireless charging case on an AirPower-like charging mat.


Many current inductive charging mats require precisely aligning a smartphone or other device with the coils inside the mat for the most efficient power transfer. As noted by AppleInsider, however, Apple's patent describes a method that would allow the AirPods case to be placed anywhere on the AirPower.
Apple's solution is to use a pair of small charging coils in the case, occupying the bottom left and right hand corners of the rear section, typically the side that would make contact with a charging pad. Both coils would be capable of receiving a charge from a charging pad, effectively doubling its chances of being in an optimal charging position.
This is just one of many patents Apple has been grated for an AirPods-like wireless charging case.

Apple first previewed the AirPower and optional AirPods wireless charging case at its September 2017 event. At the time, Apple promised that the AirPower was coming in 2018, but the year came and went without any release.


Last year, a report suggested that Apple faced technical difficulties with the AirPower that likely delayed its release. Recent reports claim that Apple has since overcome those issues and instructed its suppliers to begin mass production of the AirPower, with several rumors hinting at an imminent release.

Just a few days ago, for example, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the AirPower and new AirPods case will launch in the first half of 2019.

Multiple sources claim Apple will host a special event at Steve Jobs Theater on Monday, March 25, but Apple's widely expected subscription-based news and video services are expected to be the focus of the keynote. By the sounds of it, there may be few to no hardware announcements at the event.

AirPower already had stage time, so a press release could be appropriate for its release, potentially alongside embargoed reviews. Rumored updates to the iPad, iPad mini, and iPod touch also sound minor, with few changes expected beyond faster processors and a slightly larger screen for the 9.7-inch iPad, so they could be press release worthy too.

Article Link: Apple Wins Patent on Long-Delayed AirPods Wireless Charging Case and AirPower
 

AngerDanger

macrumors 601
Dec 9, 2008
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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today published a newly granted Apple patent related to an "inductively chargeable earbud case." While the AirPods and AirPower are not named in the patent, the illustrations clearly show an AirPods-like wireless charging case on an AirPower-like charging mat.
:rolleyes: Okay, @Joe Rossignol, I wouldn't say it's that clear. It seems just as likely that Apple is planning to release a competitor to those little hex bug robots. The images shown appear to be tiny little bots on a fun play mat for kids.

AirPower-HexBug-thing.gif
 
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johnyslats

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Mar 14, 2012
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After such a long delay I’m pretty sure Apple will not be content to issue a press release. I fully expect to see both AirPower and AirPods to have stage time at the March event if they’re listed as ‘coming soon’, but expect to see a solid date even if a couple of months out
 
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cmaier

macrumors P6
Jul 25, 2007
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But… but… I thought this was just vaporware! Yo—you know, because cause Apple is terrible, Tim C(R)ook is greedy, Steve Jobs never would've ________, etc.
Are you suggesting that the fact something is patented means it is NOT vaporware? Have you even seen the USPTO patent database?

(Looking forward to your animated meme on this topic)
 
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citysnaps

macrumors 603
Oct 10, 2011
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But… but… I thought this was just vaporware! Yo—you know, because cause Apple is terrible, Tim C(R)ook is greedy, Steve Jobs never would've ________, etc.
Yeah so true.

Still, I'm expecting a good moan-n-whine fest will soon ensue. Otherwise some people will be moping around all day without their daily pick-me-up shot of AppleMoan.
 
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Fixey

macrumors regular
May 16, 2017
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Greedy companies at it again, this concept has been done for years, an old idea but induction charging is inefficient and why only used on devices were not practical to have exposed charging contacts like electric toothbrushes.

More efficiency in direct cable charging and it’s more green, induction charging is any-green way to go Apple just increase the carbon footprint of devices
 
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ipedro

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Nov 30, 2004
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I think that AirPower has the potential to take over as the standard for wireless power. Apple clearly achieved something here that Qi isn’t capable of doing. It would be a smart move for Apple to license it’s technology and add AirPower to the standard.

Perhaps even take over the name. Qi is always mispronounced and just doesn’t have a marketable name to it. AirPower does.
 
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tkukoc

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Two things definitely at play with AirPower.. Heat issues which were originally mentioned over the first year delays and of course patent of the triple coils. Which in itself isn't "new" but the way Apple does it, they had to cover all their bases. Considering the software is directly built for iphone/apple watch and airpods. For whatever Apple deems "special" features. Which I'm pretty sure we've all seen the original graphic screens for charging. Will be nice to see AirPower finally hit the market, even if I don't purchase it. Seems like one of those things Apple has been hit hard on by the community, so to finish it and move forward is good in my eyes.
 
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cmaier

macrumors P6
Jul 25, 2007
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What a WIN !!!
Who lost?

Patents are not won - unless challenged by other party...
They are simply granted !!!
You “win” one from the government. They are not granted “simply.” You must convince the USPTO that the patent is either new or at least non-obvious over the prior art found by the patent examiner.
 
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cmaier

macrumors P6
Jul 25, 2007
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Greedy companies at it again, this concept has been done for years, an old idea but induction charging is inefficient and why only used on devices were not practical to have exposed charging contacts like electric toothbrushes.

More efficiency in direct cable charging and it’s more green, induction charging is any-green way to go Apple just increase the carbon footprint of devices
Where has the following been “done for years?”

1. A case for a portable listening device, the case comprising: a housing having an interior space to receive the portable listening device; a lid attached to the housing and operable between a closed position where the lid is aligned over the interior space and an open position where interior space is exposed enabling the portable listening device to be removed from the interior space; a first wireless power receiving element positioned within the housing at a first location, the first wireless power receiving element configured to receive electric charge from a wireless power transmitter during a charging event in which the case is positioned proximate to the wireless power transmitter; a second wireless power receiving element positioned within the housing at a second location, different than the first location, the second wireless power receiving element configured to receive electric charge from the wireless power transmitter during the charging event; a charging system operatively coupled receive power from the first and second wireless power receiving elements and transfer the received power to a rechargeable battery; and switching circuitry coupled to the charging system and configured to, during the charging event, disable one of the first or second wireless power receiving elements if the disabled element is receiving power less efficiently than the other element.
 
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keysofanxiety

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Nov 23, 2011
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Greedy companies at it again, this concept has been done for years, an old idea but induction charging is inefficient and why only used on devices were not practical to have exposed charging contacts like electric toothbrushes.

More efficiency in direct cable charging and it’s more green, induction charging is any-green way to go Apple just increase the carbon footprint of devices
And I thought I’d read everything. It’s not a coal-powered iPhone, you know.
 
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69Mustang

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In between a rock and a hard place
Although I like the technical achievement, I'm still hard pressed to find a practical value in place anywhere wireless charging. Could there be a slight convenience? Maybe But there can also be a slight inconvenience because the AirPower is going to be much bigger than a standard Qi charger. Good job overcoming the technical challenges though.
 
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cmaier

macrumors P6
Jul 25, 2007
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This is why the patent system is broken when you can respin prior art.
Ok. Where is the prior art for:

1. A case for a portable listening device, the case comprising: a housing having an interior space to receive the portable listening device; a lid attached to the housing and operable between a closed position where the lid is aligned over the interior space and an open position where interior space is exposed enabling the portable listening device to be removed from the interior space; a first wireless power receiving element positioned within the housing at a first location, the first wireless power receiving element configured to receive electric charge from a wireless power transmitter during a charging event in which the case is positioned proximate to the wireless power transmitter; a second wireless power receiving element positioned within the housing at a second location, different than the first location, the second wireless power receiving element configured to receive electric charge from the wireless power transmitter during the charging event; a charging system operatively coupled receive power from the first and second wireless power receiving elements and transfer the received power to a rechargeable battery; and switching circuitry coupled to the charging system and configured to, during the charging event, disable one of the first or second wireless power receiving elements if the disabled element is receiving power less efficiently than the other element.
 
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Khedron

macrumors 68020
Sep 27, 2013
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Apple patent trolling

10,000 new patents to be submitted

"Inductively chargeable [thing that uses a rechargeable battery]"
[doublepost=1550601346][/doublepost]
Ok. Where is the prior art for:

1. A case for a portable listening device, the case comprising: a housing having an interior space to receive the portable listening device; a lid attached to the housing and operable between a closed position where the lid is aligned over the interior space and an open position where interior space is exposed enabling the portable listening device to be removed from the interior space; a first wireless power receiving element positioned within the housing at a first location, the first wireless power receiving element configured to receive electric charge from a wireless power transmitter during a charging event in which the case is positioned proximate to the wireless power transmitter; a second wireless power receiving element positioned within the housing at a second location, different than the first location, the second wireless power receiving element configured to receive electric charge from the wireless power transmitter during the charging event; a charging system operatively coupled receive power from the first and second wireless power receiving elements and transfer the received power to a rechargeable battery; and switching circuitry coupled to the charging system and configured to, during the charging event, disable one of the first or second wireless power receiving elements if the disabled element is receiving power less efficiently than the other element.
Already available for $30

 
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NT1440

macrumors G5
May 18, 2008
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So sixteen charging coils instead of 1. Such innovation.
Go ahead and point to any device that intelligently determines which charging coils to activate regardless of orientation while also accounting for dangerous objects (like keys or paperclips) left on a charging surface.

There’s a lot more to AirPower than just “more coils”, you may not acknowledge that innovation in hard engineering problems is indeed innovation but it is.
 
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aylk

macrumors regular
Jan 29, 2010
178
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Go ahead and point to any device that intelligently determines which charging coils to activate regardless of orientation while also accounting for dangerous objects (like keys or paperclips) left on a charging surface.

There’s a lot more to AirPower than just “more coils”, you may not acknowledge that innovation in hard engineering problems is indeed innovation but it is.
What's the point of doing this? Besides market differentiation I mean...
 
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