CES 2014: WiTricity Announces New Wireless Charging System Design for iPhone 5/5s

Wireless power firm WiTricity today announced the release of a reference design for its new wireless charging system aimed at the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. Moving beyond existing induction power transfer technologies such as Powermat that require direct contact with a charging pad, WiTricity's system supports power transfer over short distances using magnetic resonance, allowing charging pads to be kept out of sight such as mounted on the bottom surface of a desk.

witricity_iphone

The WiTricity charging system for the iPhone 5/5s includes a wireless charging hub and a charging sleeve that fits an iPhone 5 or 5s. Similar to other protective covers, the WiTricity sleeve quickly slides onto an iPhone 5/5s and is powered when in proximity to the WiTricity charging hub. Capable of charging two phones concurrently, the charging hub can be placed on top of a table as an upright or flat charging pad, or mounted underneath a table or desk for charging through the surface. By mounting the charging pad under a surface, smartphone users are freed from the tangle of charging cords and cluttered desktops.


We first explored Apple's connection to WiTricity in July 2011 after it was reported that Apple was working on a "new way of charging" the iPhone, and while that way turned out to simply be the Lightning connector introduced in the iPhone 5, Apple does clearly have an interest in wireless charging and WiTricity's technology in particular.

Patent applications from Apple have outlined how the company could use something in line with WiTricity's technology to allow a computer such as an iMac to serve as a wireless charging hub, with accessories and other devices such as keyboard, mice, and iOS devices able to be charged simply by being in close proximity to the iMac. Shortly after the publication of a key Apple patent application on the concept, WiTricity even demoed how such a system would work.

WiTricity's system announced today is a reference design not meant for direct sale to consumers, but it will allow the company to partner with a variety of other firms such as device manufacturers, accessory companies, and furniture makers to explore implementation of the technology.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
89 months ago
oh...my nexus 4 did that without a case :P

seriously...no one wants to put a case on their phone to achieve wireless charging.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
89 months ago
If it doesn't need a case, that's great. But honestly, what is so hard about plugging in your phone. If it has to be within a certain proximity to the base, you might as well plug it in. I can't imagine this charges faster and would probably charge slower than a typical wired connection.

For something like an iWatch it makes sense, but for a phone not as much.

In 3 years if I can have an Apple designed charging station/caddy for my kitchen that charges phones, iPads, iPods, and they all just have to sit on the counter within 5 feet, that would be welcome. But this stuff is just baby steps novelty.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
89 months ago
Let's just wait for Apple to implement this so people without the ugly case can also use it :)
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
89 months ago
This is awesome, now just time for apple to integrate it as an official feature and fix that ugly design.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
89 months ago

oh...my nexus 4 did that without a case :P

No, it didn't.

What your Nexus 4 did was inductive charging, which WiTricity is not.

WiTricity is resonant electromagnetic charging, which allows charging from a greater distance (and with any orientation) compared to inductive charging.

Current implementations with a small form factor aren't really efficient yet, but we could eventually see that tech be used to say, charge your phone while it's in your pocket as you enter a room. This would have a significant impact on how people charge their device as opposed to inductive charging, which isn't all that different from an old-fashioned dock in terms of usage.

You can see a relatively old demo here (http://www.ted.com/talks/eric_giler_demos_wireless_electricity.html) (skip to 8:30 for smartphone demos), which shows the potential the tech when using bigger coils. Hopefully we'll see that level of performance in smaller form factors soon.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
89 months ago
Nikola Tesla would be proud that his technology is finally becoming mainstream; 100 years later.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Early iPhone 12 Tests Show Ceramic Shield is Stronger and More Scratch Resistant Than iPhone 11 Glass

Friday October 23, 2020 1:21 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 models are protected by a Ceramic Shield cover glass that has nano-ceramic crystals infused right into the glass to improve durability. According to Apple, Ceramic Shield offers four times better drop protection than the glass used for the iPhone 11 models. YouTube channel MobileReviewsEh conducted some tests on the iPhone 12 using a force meter to compare its performance ...

First Impressions From New iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Owners

Thursday October 22, 2020 4:20 pm PDT by
It's already Friday, October 23, in Australia and New Zealand, which means some customers who purchased an iPhone 12 or 12 Pro already have their new devices in hand. We've seen dozens of reviews of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro from media sites, but now first impressions from regular Apple customers are available. Image via MacRumors reader Boardiesboi New iPhone 12 and 12 Pro owners are...

iPhone 12 Pro Allows You to Measure Someone's Height Instantly Using LiDAR Scanner

Saturday October 24, 2020 11:12 am PDT by
iPhone 12 Pro models feature a new LiDAR Scanner for enhanced augmented reality experiences, but the sensor also enables another unique feature: the ability to measure a person's height instantly using the Measure app. You can even measure the seated height of a person in a chair, according to Apple. When the Measure app detects a person in the viewfinder, it automatically measures their...

Apple VP Kaiann Drance Interview Addresses Battery Life, MagSafe, and Power Adapter Concerns

Friday October 23, 2020 3:37 am PDT by
Apple's Vice President of iPhone Marketing, Kaiann Drance, has provided a new interview to Rich DeMuro on the Rich on Tech Podcast, to discuss the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. Although much of the interview repeated points from Apple's "Hi, Speed" event, there were a number of interesting tidbits regarding the affect of 5G on battery life, MagSafe concerns, and the lack of a power adapter in...

iPhone 11 Pro Outlasts iPhone 12 and 12 Pro in Extensive Battery Life Test

Friday October 23, 2020 8:36 am PDT by
Arun Maini today shared a new side-by-side iPhone battery life video test on his YouTube channel Mrwhosetheboss, timing how long the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models last on a single charge compared to older models, with equal brightness, settings, battery health, and usage. All of the devices are running iOS 14 without a SIM card inserted. In the test, the iPhone 11 Pro outlasted both ...

Apple Distributing New Heated Display Removal Machine for iPhone 12 Repairs

Thursday October 22, 2020 6:20 pm PDT by
Apple is providing Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers with a new heated display removal fixture for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro repairs, according to information obtained by MacRumors from a reliable source. To open iPhone 12 models, technicians will be required to slide the device into a specialized tray, and then place the tray into the high-temperature fixture for two...

Apple Warns MagSafe Charger Can Leave Circular Imprints on Leather Cases

Friday October 23, 2020 3:23 pm PDT by
If you keep your iPhone in a leather case while charging with Apple's new MagSafe Charger, the case might show circular imprints from contact with the accessory, according to a new Apple support document published today. Apple's leather cases for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are not available until November 6, but a MacRumors reader has already shared a photo of a circular imprint on...

MagSafe Charger Teardown Reveals Simple Design With Magnets and Charging Coil Encircling a Small Circuit Board

Friday October 23, 2020 7:50 am PDT by
iFixit has today shared a teardown of Apple's new MagSafe charger for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. An X-ray of the MagSafe charger courtesy of Creative Electron reveals the internal charging coil surrounded by a circular arrangement of magnets within the puck. The only seam that iFixit was able to leverage to open the device was where the white rubber circle meets the metal rim,...

PSA: Non-iPhone 12 Models Charge Super Slowly With MagSafe Charger

Friday October 23, 2020 4:11 pm PDT by
Alongside the iPhone 12 models, Apple introduced a new $39 MagSafe Charger that's meant to work with the magnets in the iPhone 12 Pro models to charge them up at a maximum of 15W. The MagSafe Charger is technically able to be used with older iPhones, but it's not a good idea because the charging with non-iPhone 12 devices is so slow. We did two tests with the iPhone XS Max, draining the...

New Photos Offer Better Look at iPhone 12 Color Options

Tuesday October 20, 2020 2:34 am PDT by
As we wait for the iPhone 12 review embargo to lift later today, more pictures are circulating of the devices in real-world lighting conditions, providing a better look at the different colors available. Leaker DuanRui has shared images on Twitter of the iPhone 12 in white, black, blue, green, and (PRODUCT)RED. The black and white colors are similar to the iPhone 11 colors, but the other...