Apple might turn MacBooks into wireless chargers

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MacBook wireless charger
Wireless chargers built into future MacBook models remains a real possibility.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple hasn’t abandoned the idea of building reverse wireless chargers into its devices. It’s been considering for years the idea of enabling a MacBook to send power to an iPhone without the hassle of wires. And the ability to recharge another handset, or an Apple Watch, was supposed to be a feature of the iPhone 11, but it didn’t happen.

Nevertheless, undeniable evidence that Apple engineers are still working on the technology came to light on Thursday.

Apple still pursuing two-way inductive charging

On Dec. 5, 2019, Apple submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office a filing for Inductive Charging Between Electronic Devices. This is actually only an update to a filing made in July of 2018 with the same name. And the company first floated the idea back 2015.

Still, it demonstrates that Apple continued actively researching building two-way inductive charging into future MacBook, iPad and iPhone models as recently as last winter.

Consider a MacBook as a wireless charger

Apple’s filing discusses the hassle of carrying around a charger for each device. “Despite having standardized connectors and cable, each device may require a separate or dedicated power supply to charge. In some cases, having separate power supplies for each device may be burdensome to use, store, and/or transport,” its patent filing notes.

The proposal is to embed wireless chargers into a range of computers. This would enable a MacBook to send power to an Apple Watch without a cable. Or an iPad could easily recharge an iPhone.

But just because Apple filed a patent on embedding wireless chargers in its laptops, tablets, and phones isn’t an indication that the company is definitely going to do it. Companies regularly patent ideas that go nowhere.