Apple has applied for a patent on an inductive charging mat that could perform different functions based on the physical orientation of devices on top of the mat. The application notes that functions such as charging, data transfer, data synchronization, and diagnostic checking could be performed depending on how a device rests on the mat. For instance, an iPhone facing down on the mat could sync, while an iPhone facing up could charge. Physical orientation wouldn’t be limited to face-up or face-down — devices placed sideways or facing specific directions could also activate functions.
The inductive mat could also alert the user to what’s been activated using sounds, vibrations, or on-screen indications, as well as connecting wirelessly to other devices. [via Apple Insider]