How seriously is Apple considering the possibility of adding inductive charging to its line of iOS devices? Seriously enough to submit some crudely drawn images to the USPTO, at least. The company's application for "Using an Audio Cable as an Inductive Charging Coil" surfaced today, featuring some interesting solutions to the problem of inductive charging. The first looks a bit like an iPhone scratching post. It's a big monolith you wrap an audio cord around several times, effectively turning the cable into an inductive receiving coil. The earphones in the example have a metal mesh that serve as a contact for charging the device.

Another proposed system also puts the earphones to work -- though without the need for that giant charging post. Instead the headphones slip into an acoustic charger, which cause their speakers to vibrate, creating a current that charges the device. As ever, just because a patent application surfaces doesn't mean a final product will ever see the light of day -- and these methods (particularly that big charging post) do seem like a long way to go to shave off the precious millimeters that inductive charging traditionally brings. But hey, Apple's all about the svelte devices, and stranger things have certainly happened.
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Apple inductive charging patent surfaces