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It’s always exciting to look at Apple’s patents to see what’s in the works. This bit of news quickly caught our eye: Apple was recently granted a patent for an iPhone holder with a set of new technologies that could have significant implications. Let’s take a quick look and see why that’s cool.
This Particular Patent Is Designed for Vehicles
The patent is for a vehicle iPhone holder. We’ve all see these in cars – they’re a little obtrusive, but excellent for any sort of long car ride, and indispensable for many morning commutes.
Apple’s version does add a key feature worth noting: It uses magnets to connect the iPhone to the holder instead of strapping the phone in.
This isn’t unheard of, though. In magnetic phone mounts, one set of magnets are in a plate on the phone holder, and the others are in a case on the phone or have magnets built into the back of the phone. They simply lock together for easy placement.
This would also allow Apple to sell its own customized iPhone cases specifically for vehicle owners. But things get more interesting!
Proximity Sensors Could Be Included, Which Allow New Possbilities
In a far more unique move, Apple’s patents include a variety of proximity sensor options for the phone holder. In this case, that means that the electromagnet is turned “off” (no electrical charge) and won’t interfere with any other devices in the vehicle until it senses that you are bringing your iPhone near. Then the magnet turns on just in time to snap together with your iPhone case for the proper attachment.
This is cool, not only because it provides a way to easily use a magnetic holder in the car without causing any other problems, but because these sensors don’t have to stop at turning on magnets. What if the holder signals to automatically connect and boot up your favorite playlist on CarPlay when your iPhone is attached? This could create a lot more seamless transitions between phone and car than we have today.
This Opens the Way for True Wireless Car Charging
Finally, this magnetic holder has us excited about the potential of wireless charging. Traditional wireless chargers use pads or docks that you rest your phone on, so it creates an induction connection that can directly recharge your battery. This approach doesn’t work well in a car because of the positioning required and issues with vibration. By combining magnetic plates and charging capabilities, Apple could fix this problem and ensure that your iPhone gets a steady charge in your car with a simple magnetic connection (in this case the holder would need to plug in a USB port or other connection inside a car).
Keep in mind, it will still be quite a while before we see any version of this magnetic holder coming out. But that also gives Apple plenty of time to keep on working on its own wireless charging technology until it’s comfortable coming out with a variety of new charging products. However, there are already products on the market that do something very similar.
This is also a good time to mention that Apple is working on a version of the iPhone without a charging port, meant to charge wirelessly with a magnetic connection on the back of the phone. It really looks like it’s all coming together!