Hitachi Maxell announces 'Air Voltage' wireless charger for iPad2

Sep 30, 2011 by Bob Yirka report

(PhysOrg.com) -- Hitachi Maxell Ltd has announced that it will release the “Air Voltage” a system for recharging the Apple iPad2 sans cable on November 25th. Comprised of the “energy stand” and “energy cover” for the iPad2, the two pieces together replace the AC adapter that comes with the iPad2. To recharge the iPad2, a user slips the energy cover onto it then sets the whole works on the stand where it is recharged in the normal amount of time, i.e. about three hours for a full charge.

While technically not a wireless system as the term is customarily used, the system does allow users to recharge their iPad2 without having to plug anything in. Instead, the base itself is plugged in, as is done with say, a wireless router and it then charges the device using the "electric field coupling method" which is where electricity is moved from the charger to the device via the creation of an electric field that is generated between the two. Electrodes in the cover pick up the electricity and transfer it to the AC input port on the iPad2. The system has been developed for Maxwell by Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd. Because the electricity is passed via the air, it is a wireless system, despite the fact that it appears to the user to be otherwise since they have to place their iPad2 on the base in order for it t be recharged.

The cover (black or white) comes in two parts, top and bottom. To put it on, the iPad2 is slipped into the bottom part then the top half is slipped on till the two parts join. The back is a full cover, and the front looks like a picture frame. The whole works is then set on the base either horizontally or vertically. The iPad2 can be used while it is being recharged just as when using a regular plug-in AC adaptor.

Though a price has not yet been set for the Air Voltage, industry analysts expect it will sell for around $200, though initially it will only be for sale in Japan. What’s not clear is whether users will be willing to accept a change of appearance to their brilliantly designed iPad2, by placing a cover on it, merely for the convenience of not having to plug it in to recharge it.


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