Wireless charging tech firm Energous namechecks Apple in regulatory filing

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 2016
A report on Thursday claims to have uncovered evidence that Apple is working on a viable wireless charging solution for iPhone in partnership with Energous, a sector specialist whose long-distance WattUp technology has been under development for years.




According to VentureBeat, who contends proof of the partnership has been "hidden in plain sight" for more than two years, Energous hinted at an Apple tie-up the moment it became a public company in 2014.

Apple is mentioned once, and only once, under the "Industry Certifications" section (emphasis added):

It is our expectation that our products and/or the reference designs will undergo UL/CE as well as FCC Part 15, FCC Part 18, SAR, California Energy Star and Apple compliance testing. While this list of required certifications may change or expand from time to time, it is our expectation, based on similar products and designs developed by our team, that completing these certification tests will be conducted as part of the Company's standard course of business and planning process.

While not a smoking gun that Apple is indeed working with Energous, the reference is interesting. That Apple is the only company named as part of Energous' compliance testing makes it more plausible, but not undeniable, that the two companies are, or had been, codeveloping wireless charging technology. Further, the small firm said it is working with "one of the top five consumer electronics companies" on wireless charging solutions.

That being said, Energous' PR firm told VentureBeat the filing is more blanket coverage for investors, not a direct disclosure of operating partners.

"Energous is the developer of WattUp - a wire-free charging technology that will be licensed to companies to embed within consumer products," the firm said. "The SEC filing statement from 2014 blankets any future anticipated testing and is not indicative of specific partners."

Disruptive Tech Research was first to connect the dots between Apple and Energous earlier this year. DTR's Louis Basenese proffers a theory that Apple tapped Energous because WattUp long-distance charging tech is closest to becoming an actual consumer product. However, the prediction is itself based on a rumor from Bloomberg, which cited sources as saying Apple is looking to debut wireless charging tech for iPhone within one to two years.

Rumors of an Apple-branded high-power wireless charging solution have circulated for years, but hard evidence of a near-term release has yet to materialize. Apple just recently dipped its toe into the wireless charging pond with Apple Watch's inductive Magnetic Charging Cable. Many consider the product a lateral move from hardwired charing options, however, as the puck-shaped device also tethers user devices to a wall adapter. Perhaps worse, inductive charging technology is slow to charge.

As Apple's patents show, the company is interested in long-distance wireless charging technology capable of supporting high-energy deployments like iPhone and iPad. This category of tech, called radiative charging, promises true freedom from cables, but the state of the art is in its infancy. Current iterations suffer from sharp drop-offs in power transfer, meaning charge times are unstable and inconsistent.

Adding fuel to the rumor bonfire, Apple in May poached pair of experts from uBeam, a firm developing technology that uses ultrasonic waves to charge devices from afar. Most recently, supply chain rumblings out of the Far East indicate Apple is sounding out potential wireless charging chip providers for an upcoming iPhone product.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,374member
    Hope it is true. Current inductive charging solutions do nothing for me, seem more cumbersome and slow than a simple cord. A true wireless solution should require no thought or tethering to a power mat at all.
  • Reply 2 of 11
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,415member
    It could be just MFi compliance they're seeking.
    EsquireCats
  • Reply 3 of 11
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    If you have to sit your device n something from which a WIRE runs, that is not "wireless". 

    no more more than the iPhone 7s don't have a "headphone jack" simply because that port is rectangular (Lightning) instead of round. 
    edited September 2016 boredumbRayz2016jony0
  • Reply 4 of 11
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,775member
    Cue the 'Tesla invented this' and 'it will cause pace makers to stop' comments  ......
  • Reply 5 of 11
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,775member
    jfc1138 said:
    If you have to sit your device n something from which a WIRE runs, that is not "wireless". 

    no more more than the iPhone 7s don't have a "headphone jack" simply because that port is rectangular (Lightning) instead of round. 
    True,  if both charger and device are wired.  If only the charger is wired then the charging is wireless if the device isn't.  Anyway true 'tuned' wireless charging such as Wi-Tricity can demonstrate, heck they even power devices let alone charge them, is long over due.
    edited September 2016 Soli
  • Reply 6 of 11
    If wireless charging from a reasonable of even a few meters is accomplished, it means big things. Not so much for devices like the iPhone and iPad which already have batteries of sufficient capacity to last for many hours. But for a device like the watch, the technology may be a game changer. 
  • Reply 7 of 11
    But for a device like the watch, the technology may be a game changer. 
    This would allow people to wear the watch 24 hours a day, which enables things like sleep tracking. It's difficult to do now, as most people, I think, charge while they sleep.
    caliwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 11
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    lepton said:
    But for a device like the watch, the technology may be a game changer. 
    This would allow people to wear the watch 24 hours a day, which enables things like sleep tracking. It's difficult to do now, as most people, I think, charge while they sleep.
    I thought Apple would have added solar power abilities to Apple Watch Series 2. Yes, you're not always wearing it outside and some people have them tucked under their sleeve but any extra power you could squeeze into the watch is welcomed.

    I believe the minimum ideal battery life for Watch is 3 days. This allows sleep tracking. I always shake my head when an apple apologist screams "you can charge it at night duh!!!" They're clearly missing all the wonderful potential possible like tap alarms, sleep tracking, snore tracking, silent ringers etc.
    edited September 2016
  • Reply 9 of 11
    Current Qi chargers are relatively slow, plus the alignment can be fiddly if there is no physical guide to push the phone against. The typical lightning docks are far-far easier to dock, quicker to charge with the benefits of high speed data transfer. If Apple switch to wireless it'll be something that charges your whole desk of Apple devices.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 11
    "Durrrr but Samsung has had wireless charging for years. Apple is light years behind. I know wireless charging isn't wireless. And it's slower than plugging it in, in essence making it a step worse without much benefit. But it's innovative and automatically means Samsung is better. They have more features like this, yet I don't concentrate on the quality/usefulness of them. Gimmicky? No I call that being light years ahead......"
    watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 11 of 11
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,443member
    entropys said:
    Hope it is true. Current inductive charging solutions do nothing for me, seem more cumbersome and slow than a simple cord. A true wireless solution should require no thought or tethering to a power mat at all.

    Spot on. 

    I've never bothered with the current batch of solutions because all I'm getting is a cable that I need to find desk space for, and is very inefficient.

    I think Apple is looking for something proper. I don't think we're going to see large devices such as laptops being charged wirelessly any time soon; in the first instance, Apple will be charging wireless headphones and watches from iPhones and Macs. Large scale solutions will be installed in Apple Stores, so you can charge your iGadgets while the staff try hard not to sell you something.
    watto_cobra
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