Apple has discovered a Dell patent for charging portable devices with laptop surfaces. The method involves placing the devices on the top of an accessory attached to the laptop that provides inductive power.
The following pictures are from Dell's US patent application 20220239124, which was published last week. It shows a wireless charging clip that attaches to a laptop just below the keyboard using magnets and a power output connection on the laptop.
Devices such as phones would sit on the top of a charging coil and a ferrrite sheet.
Apple has issued patents for a slightly different charging method based on the same basic principle. Instead of using an attachment, Apple would place the charging coils inside new MacBooks which might charge an iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch lying on the top.
Apple's proposed gadget charging system would also be available while MacBooks are closed, allowing for more devices to be charged. However, Dell's idea for a separate clip might be cheaper since it may be attached to different laptops.
If either system is successful, it may result in chargers using significantly less power outlets than other chargers, such as charging pads. In 2019, Apple rejected its attempt at a large charging pad the AirPower.
Other businesses are experimenting with different wireless charging methods. Ikea's $40 charger mounts under a table or desk, charging devices on the top. However, it still requires cables. An IR-based system is being developed by Wi-Charge, which charges phones remotely.