Apple has filed a new patent application that shows it has interest in building an inductive charging mat that would allow users to dock, charge and sync their portable devices by simply placing them on top of the accessory.
The details come from a newly published Apple patent application discovered on Thursday by AppleInsider. The filing, entitled “Device Orientation Based Docking Functions,” describes a “docking device” that would allow devices to be placed on top of it.
The mat could perform such docking functions as charging, data transfer, syncing, and diagnostic checking, all based on the physical orientation of the user device on the surface.
The filing says that devices can be built to utilize inductive charging surfaces. Circuitry in the devices would respond to a magnetic field from the charging surface, and would also allow data to be transferred while the device is docked.
Inductive charging surfaces are not new, however Apple’s application brings a new twist to the concept by interpreting the device’s orientation for specific functions. “For example, a future iPhone with inductive charging capabilities could be placed face down on the mat for charging only, while placing the handset face-up on the mat could initiate syncing with a computer or iCloud as well as charging.”
Once a device is placed on the mat, the current mode could be indicated to a user by sound, graphic display, message notification, or vibration.
The charging mat could also be connected to a host of other devices through out the user’s home.
Apple’s proposed invention was first filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in March of 2011. It is credited to Jorge S. Fino.