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Patently Apple this morning discovered a new patent application in the United States Patent & Trademark Office’s database which describes inductive charging system for iOS devices akin to the Touchstone wireless charging dock available for HP’s webOS-driven devices. Apple’s patent application outlines an inductive charging tower of sorts that has you wrap your earphone cables around it “and place a new conductive metal mesh earphone on the media device to begin the charging process”.

The oddly shaped charging tower taps the transformer unit to convert the voltage of the A/C power received from the wall socket, using the resulting voltage to drive the transmitting coil which is wrapped around a ferromagnetic core. This setup creates a varying magnetic flux in the ferromagnetic core. That magnetic flux could also propagate through air, meaning that (at least on paper) the charging station might function without a ferromagnetic core, opening door to wireless charging of iOS devices.

Apple also describes an alternative charging system where you slip your earphone into a recess in an acoustic charger to charge the portable device that is attached to the headphones, as seen in the below drawing…

The acoustic charger has a speaker within which uses an acoustic signal in a non-audible frequency range. The signal then causes the earphone’s speaker to vibrate, which in turn causes a transducer within the speaker to generate current in earphone conductors. Apple in the patent application credits engineers Fletcher Rothkopf, Anna-Katrina Shedletsky and Stephen Lynch with the invention. To get more information about this patent, enter the UI number 20110188677 into the USPTO search engine.

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