A pair of newly granted Apple patents show a MacBook wirelessly charging an iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. They describe two-way charging coils that can be used to charge the MacBook itself but also used to allow the MacBook to charge other devices.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because many other phone makers have released devices with similar reverse wireless charging technology. Although Apple’s take is a little different. According to the patent images, a MacBook’s lid, palm rest, or trackpad could be used to charge a wireless charging-compatible iOS device.
The problem the patents claim to solve is the one where you may find yourself without enough outlets, power bricks, or any electricity at all. The patents state that “despite having standardized connectors and cable[s], 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.”
There are 40 patent cases in the two papers, however, the general picture is clear. You take your MacBook with its charger and that is it. No compelling reason to manage iPhone chargers, cables, proprietary Watch chargers, etc. The MacBook’s reverse wireless charging itself is an intriguing choice – we wager it would require an incredibly powerful wireless charger to make this choice commercial. Similarly, as with all patents, we shouldn’t get our expectations high, despite the fact that putting a wireless charging loop into a laptop doesn’t appear to be serious.
This won’t be the first laptop to adopt wireless charging. Wireless charging capabilities on laptops go back to 2017 when the Dell Latitude 7285 was launched packing a wireless charging coil. There is a wireless charging mat that charges the laptop when it is placed on top of the mat.