In public Apple has never had many positive words to say about the state of wireless phone charging, but a patent filed by the company and published this week suggests that its engineers are busy working on possible cable-free solutions.
As Patently Apple reports, the document deals mainly with the best ways of polishing and brushing metal, but there is a mention of an inductive charging station as one device where these techniques could potentially be used.
Inductive charging - available in phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 - uses two coils (a transmitter and a receiver) to transfer power using the magic of magnetic fields. This is the same kind of technology mentioned by Apple.
Down to the wires
It's worth bearing in mind that patents can only give us clues about what tech firms are experimenting with, and Apple may well ditch the idea before it makes it into the iPhone - it's filed numerous patents on wireless charging in the past, after all.
But it does give us a hint that the company is still thinking about ways to replace the traditional charging cord on the iPhone. There's a form of inductive charging in the Apple Watch so presumably it wouldn't be too much of a leap to include it in Apple's phones too.
It was one of the rumoured features for the iPhone 7 - supposedly Apple has tech that works across a bigger distance than its rivals. In fact with the iPhone 7 now out in the wild, we'd like to get the iPhone 8 rumours started nice and early: wireless charging. And you heard it here (almost) first.
Check out our hands-on review of the new iPhone:
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Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.