Apple Files Patent to Make a Zero-Power PSU

Apple just applied for a patent that would grant it the rights to a zero-power PSU that would use no power when a connected electronic device is turned off.

Apple's idea is based on creating a much more complex AC/DC unit, which consists of the usual regulating circuitry as well as a control circuitry with an attached microprocessor and battery. The control circuitry can determine whether a electronic device is on or off simply by sending data through extra wiring and waiting for a response. If there is a response, the power regulating circuitry is enabled - or it is taken offline if there is no response.

The control circuitry is powered by a battery, which is charged during regular power flow. The patent was filed on April 29, 2011 and there is no indication when it could make it into an actual product. The financial benefit is unclear and the cost to build such a PSU may be higher than the actual power savings in the end. However, there is an environmental benefit, especially if all those millions of devices that Apple sells every quarter use less power.

  • The Greater Good
    Apple, the latest and greatest in patent trolls.
  • dalethepcman
    How is this a zero power PSU?
  • the_krasno
    I accidentally read a Zero Point Module for some reason.
  • bwcbwc
    Good question: Maybe it doesn't allow any power to the plugged in device, but the processor circuitry within the PSU will still be leeching power. Either that or the article doesn't capture what is really going on here.
  • Stardude82
    Sort of makes sense.... when a transformer is plugged into the wall with no load there is still some parasitic use of power. I don't know how they will work the switching system, but its still likely to draw some power too.
  • puddleglum
    So Apple gets the PR for being green and everyone else gets slammed for wasting energy. Oh wait, they can't help it because Apple's got the patent.
  • rohitbaran
    I don't think this is new. Devices powering off when not in use has been for very long. They may be adding some detection mechanism similar to used in current devices (or maybe the same one lol!) and so they want a patent! Wow!
  • TeKEffect
    Its a good idea. It sends a signal to the attached device and if no response is received it prevents a product that is turned off from taking a vampire draw. This should be standard in all electronics not just apples, this patent isnt going to help universal adoption
  • coldmast
    This one better be rejected
  • nikkidpartypooper
    Yes! Mr.Patent Apple the useles greeny.