Apple Ramps Up Wireless Charging Ambitions

Apple has acquired a startup whose technology may make wirelessly charging iPhones and other devices a lot better.

The tech giant on Wednesday confirmed to New Zealand news outlet Stuff that it had acquired a company called PowerbyProxi. While Apple stopped short of saying exactly what it has planned for PowerbyProxi, the company’s senior vice president of hardware engineering Dan Riccio told Stuff that the startup’s “team will be a great addition as Apple works to create a wireless future.”

Market researchers and analysts criticized Apple (AAPL) over the last couple of years for failing to keep pace with competitors like Samsung and others that had invested in wireless charging in their smartphones, tablets, and other devices. Apple mostly silenced those critics last month, when it unveiled the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, which all come with wireless charging. Apple also announced a new wireless charging pad called the AirPower that it plans to release next year. AirPower will be able to charge multiple devices, including the iPhone and Apple Watch, at the same time.

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PowerbyProxi, founded in 2007, has worked on bringing wireless charging to a varied number of devices, including drones, medical equipment, and other big products that use battery power but are typically tethered to walls.

Being able to tap into the PowerbyProxi’s technology could allow for far more wireless charging flexibility. PowerbyProxi has found a way to transmit more power wirelessly than standard wireless chargers for smartphones. And generally speaking, the more power it can transmit, the more juice it can supply. It’s possible, then, that Apple could use PowerbyProxi to enhance iPhone charging. It might also look at bringing PowerbyProxi’s technology to other devices, like the iPad and Mac, that would require more power.

But of course, the notoriously secretive Apple didn’t announce specific plans. And like other startups, PowerbyProxi may be folded into Apple’s existing teams, or chart its own path.

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