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

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.

Related Roundup: AirPods 2
Buyer's Guide: AirPods (Buy Now)


Top Rated Comments

(View all)

13 weeks ago

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today published a newly granted Apple patent ('http://patft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=10206474.PN.&OS=PN/10206474&RS=PN/10206474') 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, [USER=696996]@Joe Rossignol[/USER], 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.



Rating: 14 Votes
13 weeks ago
What a WIN !!!
Who lost?

Patents are not won - unless challenged by other party...
They are simply granted !!!
Rating: 13 Votes
13 weeks ago
Maybe this is why things were delayed so long?
Rating: 10 Votes
13 weeks ago

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.

Here, let me help: STEVE JOBS NEVER WOULD’VE PICKED TIM COOK TO RUN THIS COMPANY!!1!

Am I doing it right?
Rating: 8 Votes
13 weeks ago

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)
Rating: 5 Votes
13 weeks ago

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.
Rating: 5 Votes
13 weeks ago
This is why the patent system is broken when you can respin prior art.
Rating: 4 Votes
13 weeks ago
Hurry up with the new AirPods, I’m having battery and charging problems with my 2 year old pair.
Rating: 3 Votes
13 weeks ago
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

[MEDIA=youtube]oLvn-_uLvjU[/MEDIA]
Rating: 3 Votes
13 weeks ago

So sixteen charging coils instead of 1. Such innovation.

Sounds like you have a great understanding on how this works.
Rating: 2 Votes

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