Apple iPad 5
Apple iPad 5 Features: New Patent Filing Suggests Wireless Charging For iPads Via Inductive Smart Cover. Reuters

At a time when the focus of the entire tech world is on the newly launched Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone, a new report surfaced online Thursday revealing a new feature that might come into play with the upcoming iteration of the Apple iPad, presumably called the iPad 5.

An AppleInsider report has pointed towards a new patent application by Apple, which suggests that the company is up for an interesting take on wireless charging, allowing an inductive Smart Cover with an in-built battery to charge the iPad.

The report says that the patent, entitled "Integrated inductive charging in protective cover,” talks about the possibility of using inductive charging to transfer power to an iOS device. While the components, required for this technology, generally include an induction coil and transformer to output power through a cord that is plugged into the device's dock connector, Apple’s patent explains a different way by bringing in the iPad Cover into the scene.

wireless charging patent
A new patent application by Apple suggests that the company is up for an interesting take on wireless charging, allowing an inductive Smart Cover with an in-built battery to charge the iPad. USPTO

“Instead of sourcing power from a stationary dock, Apple's invention calls for a tablet case, or more specifically an iPad Smart Cover, to hold the inductive power transmitter,” says the report. “In some embodiments, an internal battery is disposed within the case, basically creating an ‘on-the-go’ wireless charger.”

Here’s an excerpt from the patent’s summary:

“In the described embodiments, the body portion includes an inductive power transmitter arranged to wirelessly pass power to a corresponding inductive power receiver unit disposed within the tablet device by inductively coupling, at least a first magnetic element, and at least a second magnetic element used to secure the body portion to the display in a closed configuration.”

As per the description given in the patent filing, the new Smart Cover will have the standard magnetic attachments and embedded Hall Effect sensor. But instead of the usual layered padding, the segmented body will include battery cells and essential wireless charging circuitry.

According to Mark Hattersley of Macworld UK, the Smart Cover could charge the iPad in two basic ways:

“One way that this could work is that the Smart Cover takes power wirelessly from a plugged-in iPad and stores it in an internal battery, it then sends it wirelessly in the other direction when you use the device. It could also be that you plug the Smart Cover into the mains via Apple's new Lightning connector and it transfers power to the iPad. Either way, because it contains a battery, the Smart Cover would keep on charging up the iPad as you carry it around.”

Last week, DigiTimes reported that Apple might introduce wireless charging for the iPhone in 2013. However, the report said that it was still unknown whether the next-generation iPhone, aka iPhone 5S, would come with built-in wireless charging capability or with other attached accessories.

Now, as the patent for the Wireless iPad charging via Smart Cover comes into light, it would be interesting to see if the feature will make its way to the upcoming iPad iteration, the iPad 5, which is expected to be released in the third quarter of this year.