​Apple buys wireless charging firm, aims for 'effortless' device recharging

Apple now has its own wireless charging technology that can power phones, drones, and robots.

Is wireless charging for phones here to stay -- or will it remain an oddity?

Apple has acquired PowerbyProxi, a New Zealand firm with hundreds of wireless charging patents and a range of charging devices, including a modular 100W wireless charging system it claims is more efficient at power transfer than any other set-up.

Apple's senior vice president of engineering Dan Riccio confirmed the acquisition to stuff.co.nz, calling it a "great addition as Apple works to create a wireless future".

"We want to bring truly effortless charging to more places and more customers around the world," he said.

PowerbyProxi was founded in 2007 by CEO Fady Mishriki and executive chairman Greg Cross. The pair commercialized technology developed at the University of Auckland by wireless power pioneers John Boys, Grant Covic, and Patrick Hu.


The company's products range includes wireless charging systems for small sensors, robotics systems, drones, and industrial equipment. Its 100W modular wireless charging system has a power transfer efficiency of 90 percent, according to the firm, and when combined with its wireless data system, can be integrated with vehicle control systems, Ethernet networks, and other devices.

Though the firm isn't a well-known consumer brand, PowerbyProxi picked up a $4m investment from Samsung Ventures Investment Corporation in 2013 and entered a strategic partnership with Samsung Electro-Mechanics. It also contributed its resonant wireless charging technology to the Wireless Power Consortium's Qi wireless standard.

Apple's first wireless-charging devices are the new iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. The company next year will launch AirPower, a wireless charging mat that can charge the iPhone, Apple Watch 3, and AirPods.

"There is tremendous alignment with our values, and we are excited to continue our growth in Auckland and contribute to the great innovation in wireless charging coming out of New Zealand," said Fady Mishriki, Powerbyproxi's co-founder and CEO.

The company has 450 wireless power patents, patent applications, and patents pending. Neither company has revealed the value of the deal.

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