Wearable Charger Could Be Coming for the Apple Watch, New Patent Suggests

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Apple has been granted a patent for a portable battery module for wearable devices, potentially paving the way for a wearable charger for the Apple Watch.

The patent, “Charging apparatus for wearable electronic device,” was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday. It details a “wearable power apparatus” that could charge a device via inductive power transfer.

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According to the patent, the power source could either be attached to an existing Apple Watch strap, or be partially embedded into a new strap or band. Similarly embedded connectors and conductors would connect the power source to a charging apparatus. This apparatus could then be magnetically coupled with a Watch, and will use inductive charging to transfer power to a device — similar to the technology that’s already in useon the standard Apple Watch charger.

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In one of the patent’s figures, we see a cutaway of what looks like an Apple Watch band with an embedded battery unit (807) and a charger (805) that looks similar to the standard puck-shaped Apple Watch charger. As far as charging the wearable power module, the Apple patent states that it could recharge via a Lightning cable or Apple Watch charger.

To ensure that a device that would be this close to a skin doesn’t overheat, the Apple patent also describes how the charging plate could have embedded sensors that can tell if a Watch is currently being worn. If it is, the sensors would signal the device to stop charging at full capacity, adjusting the power transfer to keep the charger from heating up or burning skin — an intrinsic problem with wearable charging apparatuses.

Interestingly, there has been a slew of third-party manufacturer who have attempted to come up with a similar charging mechanism — thus far, however, none of them have been released. One of those third-parties, a startup called Reserve Strap, announced that their charging band was effectively dead due to a change in Apple’s External Accessory Protocol. Now, it seems, if this patent is any indication, that Apple is at least considering such a device themselves.

Of course, Thursday’s Apple patent is just a patent — so there’s no guarantee if we’ll see this technology show up in the future. On a similar note, we have no idea whether such a portable charging mechanism would be included with future Apple Watches, or be sold as a separate accessory.

Apple filed the patent in July 2015, and its creator is credited as Gregory S. Adamisin.

Tags: Apple Watch