The next generation of Macs might do away with cables altogether and could lead to widespread adoption of wireless power and wirelss charging technologies.
And that's because US Patent no. 8,796,885, awarded this week and first spotted by Apple Insider, details a system that will wirelessly power a computer's keyboard and mouse. The system would enable Apple to remove traditional batteries from low-power peripherals altogether and make its computers even easier to use. As long as the mouse or keyboard was within a certain distance from a magnetic charging pad, they would function as well as peripherals connected directly to a computer via USB.
The description of the wireless power system makes no mention of use within devices such as smartphones and tablets. This is chiefly because handsets need more power to function, but the patent is the first-ever Apple-related document to detail wireless charging and shows that the company considers it a valid technology.
Apple isn't the only company that feels wireless charging technology's time has come. In June, Intel unveiled its own vision of a completely wire-free PC of the future that does away with the power cable and even the display port lead so that images are transferred wirelessly from the computer to the wirelessly charging monitor.
Intel claims that its technology will be ready for the public as soon as 2015, but it will be down to computer manufacturers that use Intel's processors to implement it in their future desktops and notebooks.
That's a problem Apple doesn't have and if it feels it is time to start offering products that feature a form of wireless charging, then that will open the door to the technology finally going mainstream as a way of keeping handsets and notebook batteries topped up as well as computer peripherals.
A host of smartphones and tablets already support wireless charging, meaning that every time they are placed on or near a charging pad, their batteries automatically start powering up. However, there are currently a number of competing wireless charging technologies on the market so compatibility is an issue. For instance, the standard that Google is championing is different from the one supported by Samsung and Microsoft handsets.