Future Macs Could Wirelessly Power Keyboards and Mice at a Distance

George Herman
George Herman
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Apple announced that its Mac peripherals including keyboards could work without needing to be recharged with a cable or have new batteries installed in the future. This is a result of the company’s continuous work on a wireless power supply system capable of transmitting power to peripherals like keyboards and trackpads over short distances.

Wireless charging could be a good solution for Mac users by temporarily placing the keyboard or mouse on a charging pad between computing sessions, nevertheless, it also means that they should remember to move the keyboard and mouse to the charging pad each time.

Considering the fact that most users would prefer to have their keyboards ready for typing, many people may encounter drained peripherals in case they were left out after use without being placed on the charging pad.

According to Apple’s concept for a “Wireless Charging System with Radio-Frequency Antennas”, instead of relying on a charging coil in a device being in close proximity to a charging pad, the company allows the charging to take place over a short distance, such as within a foot of the charging point.

For instance, a host device, like an iMac or display, could have cavities low down below the display that house transmitting antennas used for sending power. In this way, a secondary antenna on the receiving device, such as a keyboard or mouse, would receive the signals from the transmitter that would be fed into rectifier circuitry and converted to a voltage used for charging a battery.

The transmitter could take the form of a rectangular hole exposing a conductive casing, as well as the antenna, all covered by a transparent cover layer to protect the user. While the receiving device may have a similar cavity, or use an “inverted-F antenna,” as well as protective materials.

According to Apple’s 2017 patent application for “Wireless Charging and Communications System with Dual-Frequency Patch Antennas”, the power could be transferred over any suitable wireless communications link, including cellular and Wi-Fi. This means that the same single transmission could be used for both data and power, which would enable Wi-Fi routers to recharge Apple devices over short distances.

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