Apple in a bid to step up its wireless charging plans on Wednesday announced its acquisition of PowerbyProxi, a designer of wireless-charging systems. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
According to Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering, Dan Riccio, “ the team will be 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 added.
The acquisition comes after Apple jumped into the wireless-charging fray last month with the introduction of the new iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. The iPhones use the same Qi wireless-power standard as Samsung’s Galaxy devices.
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’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.
While speaking on the deal, PowerbyProxi’s Mishriki said, “The team and I are thrilled to join Apple.
“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.”