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

mattopotamus Avatar
105 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)
roland.g Avatar
105 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)
Lapidus Avatar
105 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)
andrewpturko Avatar
105 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)
pgiguere1 Avatar
105 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)
jsalda Avatar
105 months ago
Nikola Tesla would be proud that his technology is finally becoming mainstream; 100 years later.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Upcoming Products 2022 Feature

Gurman: Apple Preparing 'Widest Array of New Hardware Products in Its History' for Fall

Sunday January 23, 2022 10:32 am PST by
Apple is working on a number of new products that are set to launch this fall, and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says that it will be "the widest array" of new devices that Apple has introduced in its history. In his latest "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explains that Apple is working on four new flagship iPhones (iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max), an updated low-end Ma...
Questionable Design Decisions

Apple's Most Questionable Design Decisions in Recent Memory

Sunday January 23, 2022 2:59 am PST by
Apple has always emphasized the depth of thought that goes into the design of its products. In the foreword to Designed by Apple in California, a photo book released by the company in 2016, Jony Ive explains how Apple strives "to define objects that appear effortless" and "so simple, coherent and inevitable that there could be no rational alternative." But every once in a while even Apple...
macbook pro 14 16 2021

Three Months After Launch, Apple Still Struggling to Meet Demand for Redesigned 14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pro

Monday January 24, 2022 7:12 am PST by
Three months after their launch, the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros continue to experience high demand and seemingly short supply, with shipping dates for both models stretching into multiple weeks in several of Apple's key markets. In the United States, the baseline 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro chip is estimated to ship in three to four weeks, promising an arrival by at least...
att gigabit internet

AT&T Bringing $180/Month 5-Gigabit Internet to 70 Cities

Monday January 24, 2022 9:20 am PST by
AT&T today announced the launch of upgraded AT&T Fiber plans, which support speeds of up to 5 Gigabits for some customers. There are two separate plans, one "2 GIG" plan and one "5 GIG" plan, available to new and existing AT&T Fiber subscribers. According to AT&T, the new plans are available to nearly 5.2 million customers across 70 metro areas including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, San...
airpodsinear 1

AirPods Save Woman's Life With Feature Everyone Should Know

Friday January 21, 2022 2:13 am PST by
Apple's AirPods have been credited with saving a woman's life after a potentially fatal fall, People reports. When a 60-year-old florist in New Jersey tripped and hit her head in her studio, she lost consciousness and awoke heavily bleeding. With nobody around to call for help, she realized she had her AirPods in, and used a "Hey Siri" command to call 911. An operator was able to stay on the ...
AirPods Pro Gen 3 Mock Feature ugly yellow

AirPods Pro 2 Could Beat AirPods Max Sound Quality

Monday January 24, 2022 2:15 am PST by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro could deliver higher fidelity audio than the AirPods Max over-ear headphones, despite being comparatively small in-ear buds, recent reports have suggested. In a recent note to investors, seen by MacRumors, TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that the second-generation AirPods Pro will offer improved audio quality thanks to support...
iCloud Bug Feature Green

Developers Unhappy With Bug Causing iCloud Unreliability

Monday January 24, 2022 10:15 am PST by
A number of developers are upset with an increasingly problematic iCloud server issue that is causing some apps that have implemented iCloud support to fail to sync properly. As outlined on the Developer Forums and on Twitter, there are CloudKit connectivity issues that have been occurring since November. Some users of apps that have iCloud support built in are seeing the following message:...
top stories 2022jan22

Top Stories: Spring Apple Event Rumors, Apple Opposes Sideloading, and More

Saturday January 22, 2022 6:00 am PST by
As we roll into the latter half of January, we're starting to hear more about a potential spring Apple event, which is likely to take place in March or April. There are a number of potential announcements on deck, so an event would be a good opportunity for Apple to get them all out there. We've also been going back and forth on some iPhone 14 rumors, and we've taken a look at a number of...