Apple has secured a pair of patents that describes a MacBook wirelessly charging iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, Patently Apple reports. Looking more closely at the patent papers it turns out that Apple wants to integrate wireless charging coils into the MacBook’s chassis. What’s more, the coils work both ways, they can receive power, thus wirelessly charging the laptop itself or charge other devices.
The idea is a neat one, given all the cables and chargers one must take when traveling. Many people already use their MacBooks to charge phones and other small gadgets but in the old-fashioned, wired way. Here’s an excerpt from one of the patents:Patent Claim #1: “A portable electronic device comprising: an enclosure having a back surface and defining an opening opposite from the back surface; a display positioned within the opening of the enclosure; a first inductive coil and a second inductive coil positioned separate from the first inductive coil, both the first inductive coil and the second inductive coil being positioned within the enclosure and between the display and the back surface of the enclosure, and operable to wirelessly transmit power to, or receive power from, an external device positioned proximate to the enclosure; and a first alignment component positioned adjacent to the first inductive coil and a second alignment component positioned adjacent to the second inductive coil, wherein the first alignment component is arranged in a first configuration, and the second alignment component is arranged in a second configuration different from the first configuration.”
There are 40 patent claims in both papers, but the overall picture is clear. You take your MacBook with its charger and that’s it. No need to deal with iPhone chargers, cables, proprietary Watch chargers, and so on. The reverse wireless charging of the MacBook itself is an interesting decision – we bet it would need a powerful wireless charger to make this option practical. As with all patents, we shouldn’t get our hopes high, although putting a wireless charging coil into a laptop doesn’t seem like a big deal.
Wonder why laptop manufacturers haven’t thought about this one before? Actually, the first laptop with wireless charging capabilities dates back to 2017. The Dell Latitude 7285 features a wireless charging coil and can receive power wirelessly if you buy the proprietary wireless charging mat. So, maybe the idea isn’t so far-fetched after all.