Patent Watch: The Smart Cover That Can Wirelessly Power Your iPad

Patent Watch: The Smart Cover That Can Wirelessly Power Your iPad

Originally unveiled at the company’s iPad 2 event by the then CEO, (and now late), Steve Jobs, the Smart Cover has in recent months become a staple accessory for iPad owners around the world who are looking to protect their tablet’s display from potential scratches, or other forms of potential damage.

The cover is unique given its use of internal magnets, which are built right into the seems of the cover itself. Coupled with the magnets now found in every model of the iPad since the introduction of the second-generation, this system of magnetics allows Apple’s Smart Cover to attach itself to an iPad … as if my magic.

Now, though, the company may be looking to take the cover’s capabilities to the next level …

Discovered in a new patent filing filed by the Cupertino company with the USPTO earlier this year, Apple describes how its snap-on ‘Smart Cover’ may one day be able to provide wireless power to the iPad models it aims to protect, today.

U.S Patent No. 20130063873, entitled “Integrated Charging in Protective Cover,” describes a system which provides “accurate and reliable techniques for wirelessly powering a tablet device.”

“A protective cover arranged to protect at least a display of a tablet device, comprising: a body portion having a size and shape in accordance with the display, comprising: an inductive power transmitter arranged to wirelessly pass power to a corresponding inductive power receiver unit disposed within the tablet device by inductively coupling; at least a first magnetic element, and at least a second magnetic element used to secure the body portion to the display in a closed configuration, wherein in the closed configuration the first magnetic element is detected by a sensor disposed within the tablet device, the detection altering a current operating state of the tablet device; and an attachment mechanism for pivotally attaching the body portion to the tablet device,” the filing reads.

Of course, wireless charging would be the next logical step for Apple’s mobile ecosystem. The company has already gotten rid of the need for the physical cable with the release of iOS 5 and the introduction of wireless sync with iTunes — It makes sense that the next step would be to get rid of the need for that AC adapter, right?

Wireless charging, (as an industry), is largely still considered to be in its infancy. However, the concept behind such charging methods is slowly becoming a reality. Sure, most methods currently require a pad or mat to be touching the device in question, and it appears if Apple’s described wireless charging technology does come to fruition, the company may follow the rest of the market in this regard.

That said, we have seen other methods of wireless charging enter the market which could – in the long run – be a better fit for Apple. Take eCoupled, for example, who if you remember showed off their wireless charging technology at CES 2013. The system was interesting to us at it claims to allow the charging of a tablet … by placing said tablet on the back of another tablet.

Check it out, below!

/ AppleInsider, MacRumors