A patent filed by Apple and subsequently discovered by Apple Insider reveals the Cupertino company’s interest in providing wireless power to their devices on store shelves. What this means is that while iOS products are sitting on the shelves in their packaging, not only will they receive power that can charge them to be fully operational when taken out of the box or to be interacted with, but will also allow Apple store employees to provide firmware updates to devices within the store while the product is still sealed.

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Dubbed “Active Electronic Media Packaging”, the patent describes an active packaging system that would replace labels and advertising typically found on the packaging of products. The goal would be to allow the product to sell itself by allowing users to interact with it while it is still within the confines of its packaging. According to the patent’s description:

“Although typical packaging for an electronic media device may be designed to adequately protect the device from shock or damage, the packaging is extremely limited in other respects […] For example, the ability to fully view or interact with the electronic media device while still inside the packaging is severely limited in most packaging designs. Although unobtrusive packaging designs have been developed, these designs typically do not allow electronic media devices to be interacted with while inside the packaging.”

It certainly is a novel idea, but a bit odd considering that all Apple stores have plenty of demo units on the floor for customers to experiment with. Not to mention that iOS devices usually come with some battery left in them when taken out of the box. That should be enough for Apple retail staff to give prospective customers a brief demonstration of the product and its features.

Perhaps the most interesting feature here would be the ability to push firmware updates to products while still in the box. What other ways do you guys think this patent could be used for?

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