Apple would patent its mother if it could. Still, here's another paper that the company has filed, this time about wireless charging.
Wired has reported that Apple's application covers Near-Field Magnetic Resonance (NMFR), which would allow devices to be charged within about 1 metre of the charging station — with the patent itself suggesting that it could be placed inside of something, like a desktop computer. Apart from smartphones and tablets, the technology could be used to power wireless accessories, like keyboards and mice.
The "virtual charging area", as Apple calls it, is demonstrated by the dashed line. Image 202 is the desktop PC, 204 is the keyboard, 206 is the mouse and 208 is a portable media player. Image 210 is a dongle that can act as an NFMR range extender, but the patent doesn't bother to explain what image 212 is.
(Credit: US Patent Office)
Obviously, a metre isn't too far, but the implications for the technology as far as gaming controllers and remotes are concerned are also quite exciting. Given that Apple quotes the paper "Efficient wireless non-radiative mid-range energy transfer" by Karalis et al, Annals of Physics 323 (2008) pages 34-38, it appears to be patenting the execution, rather than the technology itself — so hopefully this doesn't get in the way of further industry adoption.