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Say hello to Apple PowerShare

We all know how Apple likes to take existing technologies and do clever things with them. Well, next up looks like electrical recharging of devices at a distance.But if you’re into electronics, or you’ve got a penchant for fancy techno’ terms, then inductive charging will be the phrase most likely tripping off your tongue right about now…

We all know how Apple likes to take existing technologies and do clever things with them. Well, next up looks like electrical recharging of devices at a distance.But if you’re into electronics, or you’ve got a penchant for fancy techno’ terms, then inductive charging will be the phrase most likely tripping off your tongue right about now…

I remember reading about Apple looking into inductive charging a few weeks ago. And while driving into work yesterday, the title of a possible ‘blog article of mine just popped into my head.

So after a quick Google, I found an Ars Technica article, though a little disparaging, did offer some insight into the life & times of inductive charging technology:

“Just like how your cordless, electric toothbrush charges miraculously when you place it into its holder, the iPhone would charge in the dock via electromagnetic fields. Certainly better (and more interesting) than plugs and connectors, but nothing to be writing home about.”

Now I’m not going to talk about the patent issues, the possible invalidity thereof, because to be frank, I don’t really care about that stuff. It’s just too boring to think about.

What does interest me is what Apple would do with inductive charging technology.

Now, quite rightly, the guys at Ars Technica identified inductive charging as a relatively old technology, and ‘nothing to be writing home about.’ But then, that’s where Apple often start from.

Look at the iPod, for example. In terms of utility, if you were to describe to someone who’d just emerged from a 20-year coma what the iPod is, they’d just shrug their shoulders and walk on by.

In short, the iPod isn’t intrinsically unique. But what Apple does such a good job of is stripping the idea right back and then focusing specifically on the task at hand to make it as good at that one task as they possibly and reasonably can, within cost.

So why is that something like inductive charging has sat in the bathroom for so long? especially when you consider what such technology could really do. Well, again Ars Technica offer some insight:

“The challenge to doing so would be for Apple to implement some sort of charging connector on two sides of the device(s). This would undoubtedly add bulk to the iPhone.”

To the likes of Apple, that’s not so much a barrier as a challenge. Imagine if you will, charging your iPod without cables.

What if Apple was to build inductive coils into their MacBook and MacBook Pro line, as well as the Mac Mini and the iMac? Imagine being able to charge your iPod or your iPhone wherever there’s a Mac?

Better yet, what if you could share power and data at the same time?

“The patent does, however, also mention the possibility of wireless data transfer,…”

So in the future, we might see not only wireless mice & keyboards, but also wireless mice & keyboards that don’t need batteries, either.

I’m willing to bet Apple would call this something along the lines of Apple PowerShare, and what a name it would be, too!

Who cares if this is old technology? The point that Ars Technica aren’t quite seeing how this technology might impact on the lives people who just want stuff to be simple and don’t want cables all over their house, with ‘wall wart’ power plugs hanging off the skirting boards in every room in the house.

The sheer convenience is wonderful. That’s not just the power to do more, but the power to do it from anywhere there’s a Mac…

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By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

3 replies on “Say hello to Apple PowerShare”

In some sense I’m surprised we haven’t seen this technology more readily embraced in your technological devices, although I suppose manufacturers have been busy adding things like GPS and improved internet access to our mobile phones and such.

Am definitely looking forward to seeing this implemented and get rid of all those different charging cables once and for all!

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