Wireless charging could finally come to iPhones and iPads as soon as next year.
Rivals such as Samsung and Google (goog) already use charging pads that require devices to be placed on them, but Apple is looking at ways to dispense with a mat and increase the distance between two charging points.
Engineers will need to address the issue of distance and explore ways of overcoming the longer time it could take for batteries to recharge over a distance, Bloomberg says.
In 2010, Apple filed a patent application that would use the iMac computer as a wireless charging station capable of recharging devices at a distance of about one meter away. It would use a technique called “near-field magnetic resonance,” a method that would wirelessly transmit power between two different points.
Apple was already considering putting QI wireless charging technology already present in Samsung devices into its next generation of iPhones, according to Fast Company. The company already released a new induction method of charging—which uses a magnetic connector—through the Apple Watch.
This could also be Apple’s attempt at evolving the fast-growing wireless charging market, which is estimated to reach $13.8 billion by 2020, according to a report by market research firm MarketsandMarkets.