Apple patent could create a new wireless charging smart hub for your iPhone
Your iPhone’s future wireless charger could add Siri.
Apple is rumored to finally bring wireless charging to the iPhone later this year with the deluxe iPhone 8, so we might be getting some new accessories to go along with it.
The company will likely depend on the Qi inductive standard for the new feature, given its membership in the Wireless Power Consortium, which means Apple will need to create a new pad-like device to provide the power — but we don’t know much about the devices that will provide the juice.
How about a Siri-powered wireless charging dock, like one of those old-school iHome clock radios on steroids? If a patent Apple was recently granted is any indication, a product with some of those features could be coming sometime in the future.
The patent, which was spotted by The Verge, describes various designs for a device that could serve as a dock for "a portable electronic device" (an iPhone, obviously) outfitted with microphones, processors, and wireless energy transfer capabilities in some iterations.
Siri integration is also outlined in the patent, although it’s described as being "a voice recognition mode of the portable electronic device," rather than a built-in feature of the dock. The filing dates back to 2012, long before the smart speakers and IoT gadgets that are commonly found in our homes now, so it’s not outlandish to think that Apple could put Siri directly into the dock given today’s trends.
A wireless charging, Siri-connected smart dock could be more appealing to consumers than Apple’s upcoming HomePod, the premium $349 Siri speaker dropping in December to take on Amazon Echo and Google Home. Apple CEO Tim Cook believes the HomePod’s superior sound will be enough to lure Apple fans to spend some extra cash to "rock the house," but utility will more likely win the smart speaker wars — so this is a design that I, for one, would love to see make its way from concept to reality.
There’s no way to know if that’ll happen, though. This is just a patent, so Apple might not actually be working on the design, or if the iPhone 8 will have wireless charging, or if there will even be an iPhone 8 at all (there will be). Here’s to hoping.