Apple acquires wireless charging specialist PowerbyProxi

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2017
Apple on Wednesday local time announced the purchase of PowerbyProxi, a small New Zealand-based firm specializing in wireless charging technologies based on the Qi wireless standard.




In a rare comment confirming the acquisition, Apple SVP of Hardware Engineering Dan Riccio said the "team will be a great addition as Apple works to create a wireless future," reports local publication Stuff.

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

Founded by Auckland entrepreneur Fady Mishriki in 2007, PowerbyProxi is a spin-off of a University of Auckland project that has garnered international recognition for the development of wireless charging systems based on the Wireless Power Consortium's future Qi wireless standard.

Headlining the company's product offering is the Proxi-Module platform, a modular wireless power and data transfer system designed for high-power applications. Using a 65mm power coil operating at 91 percent efficiency, the hardware can deliver 100 watts of power to drones, warehouse robots, medical equipment and other battery-powered machinery. A waterproof, modular chassis design allows for flexible docking solutions, while internal circuitry supports foreign object detection, dynamic pairing and other advanced features.

PowerbyProxi also markets Proxi-Com, an add-on unit that integrates with Proxi-Module to convert wired data signals like CAN bus, Ethernet and GPIO to wireless.

Whether Apple will allow the company to continue sales is unknown. Hardware companies purchased by Apple usually cease production as the team is brought in to work on in-house initiatives, but there are exceptions. Beats, for example, continues to operate as its own brand after Apple bought the audio company in 2014 for $3 billion. More recently, Beddit was allowed to maintain sales through the Apple store as Apple collected data from users of the eponymous sleep tracking monitor.

Apple just recently introduced wireless charging to its smartphone lineup with the launch of iPhone 8 and iPhone X. While previous Apple-branded inductive solutions, namely those used in Apple Watch, relied on in-house standards, the latest iPhones use technology based on Qi.

Currently, iPhone 8 models can be charged by third-party pads, but transfer power is limited to 5 watts. Apple intends to improve charge speeds via a firmware update later this year, perhaps boosting capacity to the 7.5 watts supported by Apple-recommended Belkin and Mophie models.

At its annual iPhone event in September, Apple debuted a charging mat called AirPower, which promises to simultaneously juice up an iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods. Total wattage is unknown, but the device is expected to output more power than conventional one-device pads.

Apple's acquisition of PowerbyProxi suggests the company is working on high-power solutions for larger devices like iPad and Mac. An inductive charger capable of outputting a continuous 100-watt stream could replace Apple's largest 87-watt wall adapter for the 15-inch MacBook Pro. That said, Apple is unlikely to have an inductive MacBook charger ready for purchase anytime soon, as the PowerbyProxi module is in its current state too large to retrofit into the laptop's svelte chassis.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 56
    Still waiting for real wireless charging...that'll be the real game-changer.
    calicornchipjbdragonrandominternetpersonairnerdwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 56
    There will be more lawsuits to come from patent trolls after Apple roll out their own design.
    SoundJudgmentwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 56
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,037member
    Apple’s technology research team is amazing. Not only for the actual tech they find and acquire, but how well the company then transitions these acqui-hires into actual consumer-facing & useful tech. As usual, can’t wait to see how this plays out.
    pscooter63lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 56
    I bet Energous' management team is fit to be tied... again.  1st Apple threw cold water on their hopes by joining the WPC and adopting the Qi Standard.  Now they've acquired a company that's deep in the Qi.  Energous is going to have to put up or shut up and name the mysterious big company they're supposedly working with instead of allowing the insinuation hang in the air that it's Apple.  I imagine that stock is going to take another significant hit.

    In the interim,  Apple getting more involved with Qi simply means more companies are going to support the tech.  Qi pads are going to be everywhere.
    edited October 2017 cornchippatchythepirateSoundJudgmentwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 56
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Apple needs to acquire Starbucks next. Wireless charging always reminds me of this. Sounds pointless until it “clicks”.

    Wireless charging tables for iDevices and new Qi MacBooks!

    Today at Apple events. Apple gathering spots.

    Starbucks Gift cards with Apple purchases. ApplePay rewards. 

    Finally the Apple Cafes Steve Jobs wanted... in every city.

    This would be a repeat of the Beats deal. Won’t make sense until it does. 
    cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 56
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,347member
    I bet Energous' management team is fit to be tied... again.  1st Apple threw cold water on their hopes by joining the WPC and adopting the Qi Standard.  Now they've acquired a company that's deep in the Qi.  Energous is going to have to put up or shut up and name the mysterious big company they're supposedly working with instead of allowing the insinuation hang in the air that it's Apple.  I imagine that stock is going to take another significant hit.

    In the interim,  Apple getting more involved with Qi simply means more companies are going to support the tech.  Qi pads are going to be everywhere.
    I think it was smart to go with Qi. Apple probably felt that they had to, since about two thirds of all installations around the world are Qi. If Apple chose something else, companies would be ticked if they thought they would have to start all over. Even small things as cutouts would be a problem, if furniture needed to be replaced. A lot of money is at stake.
    edited October 2017
  • Reply 7 of 56
    Im waiting for over the air wireless charging
    cornchiponeof52airnerd
  • Reply 8 of 56
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,700member
    waverboy said:
    Still waiting for real wireless charging...that'll be the real game-changer.


    Ya, there's not a single phone made that has Wireless Charging!!! They are all Inductive Charging. The same type of thing that my Electric Tooth Brush charges by. It's not the Qi standard, but it is Inductive Charging. The tooth brush sits on a base and that base is plugged into the wall. There's no physical electrical connection to the Tooth Brush. Sits on a base and is charged by a coil.

    I don't give a crap about Inductive Charging. It's OLD TECH. I don't see what the big deal is. It's more Energy efficient to just plug it into a cheap cable then a $40+ charging pad that's still plugged into the wall. I dock my iPhone next to my bed every night and that's pretty darn fast.

    When I can walk around a room and not have to even get out my phone and it's charging. That's Wireless Charging. If I can place my phone anywhere in my house. Toss it onto the sofa. Throw in on a table. Doesn't matter, there's no mat under it and it charges, THAT is wireless charging. If I can pick up my phone and answer the call, or check my messages and the phone is still charging. THAT is wireless charging. You can't do any of that with FAKE Wireless charging, which is really just Inductive Charging. I don't care if it's from Samesung, or Apple, I could care less about Inductive Charging.

    When there's a phone with real wireless charging, I'll be first in line for it.
    edited October 2017 cornchiprandominternetpersoncaliairnerdwilliamlondontechprod1gyllamabeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 9 of 56
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 5,894member
    I bet Energous' management team is fit to be tied... again.  1st Apple threw cold water on their hopes by joining the WPC and adopting the Qi Standard.  Now they've acquired a company that's deep in the Qi.  Energous is going to have to put up or shut up and name the mysterious big company they're supposedly working with instead of allowing the insinuation hang in the air that it's Apple.  I imagine that stock is going to take another significant hit.

    In the interim,  Apple getting more involved with Qi simply means more companies are going to support the tech.  Qi pads are going to be everywhere.
    Even if it’s not the best technology. Ubiquity is rarely a sign of excellence but rather “good enough”.
    edited October 2017 anantksundaramcornchip
  • Reply 10 of 56
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 5,894member

    waverboy said:
    Still waiting for real wireless charging...that'll be the real game-changer.
    Don’t hold your breath. Nikolai Tesla experimented with transmitting power through the air almost a hundred years ago and it wasn’t a picnic. The high frequency alternating current needed to accomplish this feat is tricky at best. The higher the frequency the shorter the range. And then there’s the potential for affecting living cells. Think microwaves. I know, I know, it will be extremely low power so theoretically it should be okay. Tell that to the lawyers.
    anantksundaramcornchippatchythepiratepscooter63oneof52stanthemanfotoformatcaliwilliamlondon
  • Reply 11 of 56
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,347member
    jbdragon said:
    waverboy said:
    Still waiting for real wireless charging...that'll be the real game-changer.
    Ya, there's not a single phone made that has Wireless Charging!!! They are all Inductive Charging. The same type of thing that my Electric Tooth Brush charges by. It's not the Qi standard, but it is Inductive Charging. The tooth brush sits on a base and that base is plugged into the wall. There's no physical electrical connection to the Tooth Brush. Sits on a base and is charged by a coil. I don't give a crap about Inductive Charging. It's OLD TECH. I don't see what the big deal is. It's more Energy efficient to just plug it into a cheap cable then a $40+ charging pad that's still plugged into the wall. I dock my iPhone next to my bed every night and that's pretty darn fast. When I can walk around a room and not have to even get out my phone and it's charging. That's Wireless Charging. If I can place my phone anywhere in my house. Toss it onto the sofa. Throw in on a table. Doesn't matter, there's no mat under it and it charges, THAT is wireless charging. If I can pick up my phone and answer the call, or check my messages and the phone is still charging. THAT is wireless charging. You can't do any of that with FAKE Wireless charging, which is really just Inductive Charging. I don't care if it's from Samesung, or Apple, I could care less about Inductive Charging. When there's a phone with real wireless charging, I'll be first in line for it.
    All wireless means is that there is no direct connection between the charger and the device being charged.

    you’re talking about over the air charging. So far, that’s proving very difficult. They’re talking about directional charging, which is like the latest WiFi, where the router can beam the signal directly to the device rather than almost all over, wastefully. Some people are worried about strongly focused radio power signals.
    edited October 2017
  • Reply 12 of 56
    jbdragon said:
    waverboy said:
    Still waiting for real wireless charging...that'll be the real game-changer.
    I don't give a crap about Inductive Charging. It's OLD TECH. I don't see what the big deal is. It's more Energy efficient to just plug it into a cheap cable then a $40+ charging pad that's still plugged into the wall. I dock my iPhone next to my bed every night and that's pretty darn fast. 
    It’s about convenience, not efficiency. Traveling with a single charging pad to plop three devices to charge on overnight is convenient. Ditto for walking up to a counter in the airport lounge, or wherever, dropping my phone on the counter and not needing to pack and carry a charging cable with me. 

    Convenience is the order of the day on this feature. 
    cornchippscooter63williamlondon
  • Reply 13 of 56
    lkrupp said:
    I bet Energous' management team is fit to be tied... again.  1st Apple threw cold water on their hopes by joining the WPC and adopting the Qi Standard.  Now they've acquired a company that's deep in the Qi.  Energous is going to have to put up or shut up and name the mysterious big company they're supposedly working with instead of allowing the insinuation hang in the air that it's Apple.  I imagine that stock is going to take another significant hit.

    In the interim,  Apple getting more involved with Qi simply means more companies are going to support the tech.  Qi pads are going to be everywhere.
    Even if it’s not the best technology. Ubiquity is rarely a sign of excellence but rather “good enough”.
    I make no judgments about the quality of Qi charging.  Good enough is typically better than nothing at all; which is what Energous has.  I do make judgments about Energous and the snake oil they are/were selling.  The closest analog I can think of is GT Advance.
  • Reply 14 of 56
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,052member
    What does PowerbyProxi have that Apple can't replicate themselves? Could there be a larger, more grandiose play here, like we're starting to see with automobile charging pads being planned for EVs?


    jbdragon said:
    waverboy said:
    Still waiting for real wireless charging...that'll be the real game-changer.
    Ya, there's not a single phone made that has Wireless Charging!!! They are all Inductive Charging.
    Qi is wireless. You may not the distance currently available with inductive charring standards, but it's undeniably wireless power.
    edited October 2017
  • Reply 15 of 56
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,052member
    melgross said:
    jbdragon said:
    waverboy said:
    Still waiting for real wireless charging...that'll be the real game-changer.
    Ya, there's not a single phone made that has Wireless Charging!!! They are all Inductive Charging. The same type of thing that my Electric Tooth Brush charges by. It's not the Qi standard, but it is Inductive Charging. The tooth brush sits on a base and that base is plugged into the wall. There's no physical electrical connection to the Tooth Brush. Sits on a base and is charged by a coil. I don't give a crap about Inductive Charging. It's OLD TECH. I don't see what the big deal is. It's more Energy efficient to just plug it into a cheap cable then a $40+ charging pad that's still plugged into the wall. I dock my iPhone next to my bed every night and that's pretty darn fast. When I can walk around a room and not have to even get out my phone and it's charging. That's Wireless Charging. If I can place my phone anywhere in my house. Toss it onto the sofa. Throw in on a table. Doesn't matter, there's no mat under it and it charges, THAT is wireless charging. If I can pick up my phone and answer the call, or check my messages and the phone is still charging. THAT is wireless charging. You can't do any of that with FAKE Wireless charging, which is really just Inductive Charging. I don't care if it's from Samesung, or Apple, I could care less about Inductive Charging. When there's a phone with real wireless charging, I'll be first in line for it.
    All wireless means is that there is no direct connection between the charger and the device being charged.

    you’re talking about over the air charging. So far, that’s proving very difficult. They’re talking about directional charging, which is like the latest WiFi, where the router can beam the signal directly to the device rather than almost all over, wastefully. Some people are worried about strongly focused radio power signals.
    Up to 1.8" (45mm), as I recall, for Qi specification 1.2 is through the air. People can say that they don't like the distance but you can't say it's not wireless.
  • Reply 16 of 56
    Soli said:
    What does PowerbyProxi have that Apple can't replicate themselves? Could there be a larger, more grandiose play here, like we're starting to see with automobile charging pads being planned for EVs?


    jbdragon said:
    waverboy said:
    Still waiting for real wireless charging...that'll be the real game-changer.
    Ya, there's not a single phone made that has Wireless Charging!!! They are all Inductive Charging.
    Qi is wireless. You may not the distance currently available with inductive charring standards, but it's undeniably wireless power.
    Patents, patents, patents and MAJOR talent. New Zealanders are heavy hitters in many aspects of science and technology and most people don't know it. Hell, we freaking split the atom. North Korea and America, et al have New Zealand to thank for their ability to destroy the world 12 times over. Pretty ironic given our nuclear weapon free stance. We even told US to sod off and never enter our waters with nukes onboard. And yet when it comes to nuclear we are still among world leaders in research. Go figure.
    Soli
  • Reply 17 of 56
    Soli said:
    What does PowerbyProxi have that Apple can't replicate themselves? Could there be a larger, more grandiose play here, like we're starting to see with automobile charging pads being planned for EVs?


    jbdragon said:
    waverboy said:
    Still waiting for real wireless charging...that'll be the real game-changer.
    Ya, there's not a single phone made that has Wireless Charging!!! They are all Inductive Charging.
    Qi is wireless. You may not the distance currently available with inductive charring standards, but it's undeniably wireless power.
    What does PowerbyProxi have that Apple can't replicate themselves?  A better question would be what does PowerbyProxi have that Apple can replicate?  Does this remind you of anything?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uQUgq5k6N8
    Soli
  • Reply 18 of 56
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,052member
    Soli said:
    What does PowerbyProxi have that Apple can't replicate themselves? Could there be a larger, more grandiose play here, like we're starting to see with automobile charging pads being planned for EVs?


    jbdragon said:
    waverboy said:
    Still waiting for real wireless charging...that'll be the real game-changer.
    Ya, there's not a single phone made that has Wireless Charging!!! They are all Inductive Charging.
    Qi is wireless. You may not the distance currently available with inductive charring standards, but it's undeniably wireless power.
    Patents, patents, patents and MAJOR talent. New Zealanders are heavy hitters in many aspects of science and technology and most people don't know it. Hell, we freaking split the atom. North Korea and America, et al have New Zealand to thank for their ability to destroy the world 12 times over. Pretty ironic given our nuclear weapon free stance. We even told US to sod off and never enter our waters with nukes onboard. And yet when it comes to nuclear we are still among world leaders in research. Go figure.
    I didn't know about the atomic advancements of NZ.

    Soli said:
    What does PowerbyProxi have that Apple can't replicate themselves? Could there be a larger, more grandiose play here, like we're starting to see with automobile charging pads being planned for EVs?


    jbdragon said:
    waverboy said:
    Still waiting for real wireless charging...that'll be the real game-changer.
    Ya, there's not a single phone made that has Wireless Charging!!! They are all Inductive Charging.
    Qi is wireless. You may not the distance currently available with inductive charring standards, but it's undeniably wireless power.
    What does PowerbyProxi have that Apple can't replicate themselves?  A better question would be what does PowerbyProxi have that Apple can replicate?  Does this remind you of anything?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uQUgq5k6N8
    If you mean AirPower, then it does remind of it, but can devices be placed anywhere on the AirPower pad? I thought it had 3 distinct regions and could only support 3 devices. PowerbyProxi's solution, assuming it's different, is much better for reasons they mention in the video plus being even being less of a hassle for the user.
  • Reply 19 of 56
    Soli said:
    What does PowerbyProxi have that Apple can't replicate themselves? Could there be a larger, more grandiose play here, like we're starting to see with automobile charging pads being planned for EVs?


    jbdragon said:
    waverboy said:
    Still waiting for real wireless charging...that'll be the real game-changer.
    Ya, there's not a single phone made that has Wireless Charging!!! They are all Inductive Charging.
    Qi is wireless. You may not the distance currently available with inductive charring standards, but it's undeniably wireless power.
    What does PowerbyProxi have that Apple can't replicate themselves?  A better question would be what does PowerbyProxi have that Apple can replicate?  Does this remind you of anything?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uQUgq5k6N8
    If you mean AirPower, then it does remind of it, but can devices be placed anywhere on the AirPower pad? I thought it had 3 distinct regions and could only support 3 devices. PowerbyProxi's solution, assuming it's different, is much better for reasons they mention in the video plus being even being less of a hassle for the user.
    I would think the AirPower charging pad is just going to be an evolution of what PowerbyProxi presented in that video.  Remember, that's from 2013.  I've never read any info about the AirPower pad having distinct regions.  As for the 3 device limit, I think that is strictly due to the size of the pad and the pad's size is strategically designed to accommodate an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPod case.  I have no proof whatsoever but I'd also be willing to posit that the 3 device limit might have something to do with power constraints.
  • Reply 20 of 56
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,052member
    Soli said:
    What does PowerbyProxi have that Apple can't replicate themselves? Could there be a larger, more grandiose play here, like we're starting to see with automobile charging pads being planned for EVs?


    jbdragon said:
    waverboy said:
    Still waiting for real wireless charging...that'll be the real game-changer.
    Ya, there's not a single phone made that has Wireless Charging!!! They are all Inductive Charging.
    Qi is wireless. You may not the distance currently available with inductive charring standards, but it's undeniably wireless power.
    What does PowerbyProxi have that Apple can't replicate themselves?  A better question would be what does PowerbyProxi have that Apple can replicate?  Does this remind you of anything?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uQUgq5k6N8
    If you mean AirPower, then it does remind of it, but can devices be placed anywhere on the AirPower pad? I thought it had 3 distinct regions and could only support 3 devices. PowerbyProxi's solution, assuming it's different, is much better for reasons they mention in the video plus being even being less of a hassle for the user.
    I would think the AirPower charging pad is just going to be an evolution of what PowerbyProxi presented in that video.  Remember, that's from 2013.  I've never read any info about the AirPower pad having distinct regions.  As for the 3 device limit, I think that is strictly due to the size of the pad and the pad's size is strategically designed to accommodate an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPod case.  I have no proof whatsoever but I'd also be willing to posit that the 3 device limit might have something to do with power constraints.
    I also have no proof but the appearance and way it was presented led me to believe it was likely just 3 separate Qi charging coils. Hopefully that's not that the case and, say, a couple with 2 Series 3 Watches and a couple or the new AirPod chugging cases will be able to charge 4 devices, or a couple with two iPhones and a couple AirPods, or a family of 5 with 5 Watches, etc.

    Unfortunately we may not get absolute word until next year when it launches, but we're still a bit in the dark on which 3rd-party Qi charging pads. When I was in the Apple Store to purchase my Series 3 Watch they had a 3rd-party Qi charging pad on the setup table but the Apple employee informed me it only works with the iPhone 8, and not the Series 3 Watch.
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