Apple may be seriously looking into the technology of wireless charging as a new patent shows up in a recent application that would embed inductive charging inside the Apple smart cover designed for iPads.
This is a different take than what we have typically seen for a wireless charging design for the internal rechargeable battery. Instead of being tethered directly to a power source, it appears that the Apple Smart Cover itself, would have battery cells of some type inside each panel. This would enable the cover itself to recharge the internal iPad battery when not in use, however it also brings the potential situation that you now have 2 items to recharge.
It was not mentioned what the recharge time might be via induction vs simply plugging the device in, but this would enable a much longer lifespan of usage when away from power for extended periods of time. Perhaps the ability to recharge via induction the Smart Cover is a possibility, when the iPad is plugged in itself? This would save the end user from having to remember to separately charge 2 unique devices.
As stated by Apple insider:
“ Charging occurs when the flap is covering the display, thus signaling that the device is not in use. Other embodiments describe methods in which the iPad can determine its own battery state and enable the inductive charging circuit when in “portable mode,” or not plugged into a power source.
Apple’s system is not completely wireless, however, as the cover itself needs to be charged. This is accomplished through a normal AC adapter, though the patent does note that solar cells can be disposed in the outer layers of the cover to harvest ambient energy. “
Current iPads do not had this capability at this time, and highly likely could not be retrofitted for use. This is very interesting feature that we may see down the road if Apple decides to go forward with the technology.