With rumors of Apple exploring new ways to charge iPhones and iPads, MacRumors pulls together threads from a company called WiTricity, which is based wireless charging research from MIT, and puts it together with an Apple patent application that surfaced earlier this year.
Apple describes a scenario where your iMac could be the source of this resonance power to provide a virtual charging area in front of your computer. Keyboards, mice and even mobile electronic devices like the iPhone or iPad could be charged simply be being in a 1 meter proximity to your computer. In typical Apple fashion, they describe that "by doing away with clumsy and annoying cables and eliminating the need to replace batteries, an easy to use and efficient local computing environment can be provided to the user."
So unlike <a href="http://www.precentral.net/"tags/touchstone">HP/Palm's TouchStone, it wouldn't require direct contact, just proximity. Whether or not Apple is or will work with WiTricity, or does anything with wireless charging any time soon, it's interesting to see what's being explored in the labs.
I've used inductive charging with the Pre Plus and with PowerMat, and while it feels like the future, it feels like a very close future. Like a novelty and not that far removed from the tether (trading the socket for a surface). True wireless charging, the ability to put your iPhone or iPad down pretty much where you want, and pick it up again fully charged? Way closer to Star Trek.
TED video after the break.