Perspective: One possible new way to charge your phone or other portable devices could be to simply place them on top of your laptop. Apple has been studying this solution for years, and a recent patent shows that Dell is considering it as well. However, patents often do not materialize into actual products, so readers should only consider this as an experimental concept for now.

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Patented by Apple disclosed Dell’s patent for using the surface of a laptop to charge portable devices. The system involves stacking devices on top of an accessory attached to a laptop that provides inductive power.

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The illustrations below are from Dell patent application 20220239124, published Last week, a wireless charging clip was shown that attaches to the laptop just below the keyboard using magnets and the power connector on the laptop.

Devices such as smartphones will rest on top of the clip, which consists of a charging coil and a ferrite sheet.

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Apple It has patents for a slightly different charging system using the same basic concept. Instead of using a nozzle, Apple installed charging coils inside the new MacBooks that could charge an iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch on top.

While the clip supposedly can only charge devices when the laptop is open, Apple’s concept also allows MacBooks to charge them when closed, offering a wider surface area for more devices. However, Dell’s idea of ​​a separate clip might be cheaper because it can be attached to different laptops.

If any system ever comes along, it could result in chargers taking up fewer outlets than other solutions like charging pads. Apple canceled its attempt to create a large charging pad – AirPower – in 2019. The company is currently suggestions MagSafe Charger and MagSafe Battery for those who need to extend the life of their devices.

Other companies are experimenting with different wireless charging methods. Ikea charger for $40 the mountains under a table or desk, chargers are located on top. Although this system is less visible, it still requires cables. A startup called Wi-Charge development An IR system in which a charger connected to a wall outlet supplies power directly to devices. This solution seems to be universal, but cannot provide enough power to fully charge the phone.