Starbucks teams up with Duracell to place iPhone-compatible wireless chargers in coffee shops

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Starbucks, in partnership with Duracell, is starting a nationwide rollout of a wireless charging system for smartphones. The system is powered by Duracell’s Powermat technology, which we reviewed last July (starting at $3.50). The program will place 100,000 of the Duracell chargers at specially-marked tables in each Starbucks location. Users would then be able to charge any phone using a compatible wireless charging system.

So far the program has only rolled out in a few stores, but it’s scheduled to reach more markets by next year. There’s not a timetable yet for when the rollout will be complete.

While the program is only available in a few stores right now, a page on the website for the initiative lists locations where the service is currently offered.

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Rumor: NFC, wireless charging, improved LTE slated for iPhone 6

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New high-resolution photos surfaced over the weekend showing what is expected to be the much thinner iPhone 6 following a report from Venture Beat that corroborates several other claims that the next generation iPhone will feature a larger display than previous models. Included in that report are also claims that Apple will opt for implementing NFC (near field communication), wireless charging, and improved LTE in the next iPhone refresh expected later this year…

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Crowdfunding roundup: ‘tasty’ cord organizers, bike navigation tool, air quality detector, more

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As the success stories keep piling up, so do the number of projects filling up crowdfunding websites with, among other things, neat hardware- and software-related products. Some projects, like Pebble, gain thousands of supporters as well as millions of dollars in funding (and end up at Best Buy’s retail stores). Other projects flop and don’t reach their necessary funding amount.

Rather than make you sift through all of these projects, we’re rounding up the best or most notable projects from around the web and delivering them to you in a simple roundup.

If there’s a project that you’ve backed – or even a project that you founded – be sure to leave a link below so it can be considered for the next roundup.

  • The Tastiest Cord Solution: Cord Taco, Cordito, Cordlupa (Kickstarter project) – It’s probably not the best idea to actually eat these cord organizers. However, the unique designs allow you to beautifully wrap up your headphones, USB cords, and Mac charging block in style. Just three days into it, this campaign is half way to meeting its $15,000 goal.
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Apple patents unlikely SmartCover wireless charging system

However unlikely—the United States Patent and Trademark office today published an Apple patent application that details a system of inductively charging an iPad through the Smart Cover. The idea is that rather than plugging in the iPad, the Smart Cover would include an inductive power transmitter that would allow it to pair with an inductive power transceiver embedded into the iPad. The result is the Smart Cover would become a wireless charging station, connecting to an external power source, and allowing you to power your iPad in various positions. Apple also explained that it could use “ambient power gathering devices, such as solar cells, can be used to gather ambient power (such as sunlight) to be stored internally in the flap for later inductive transfer.”

A method for wireless powering a tablet device, comprising: determining if a protective cover is in a closed configuration with respect to the tablet device; enabling a wireless power receiver circuit in the tablet device when it is determined that the protective cover is in the closed configuration with respect to the tablet device; and wirelessly receiving power from a wireless power transmitter associated with the protective cover.

Apple described the advanced Smart Cover as including multiple power transmitters to allow the iPad to charge even when using the case, for example, as a stand to prop up the device. Alternatively, the cover could continue charging the device when in the closed position or when an iPad is placed on top: Read more