Apple acquires wireless charging specialist PowerbyProxi

25 Oct 2017

Apple Store in Santa Monica. Image: View Apart/Shutterstock

Apple snaps up PowerbyProxi to advance wireless charging features for future products.

Yesterday (24 October), New Zealand publication Stuff reported that Apple bought small firm PowerbyProxi for an undisclosed sum.

PowerbyProxi was set up in 2007 by Fady Mishriki as a spin-out from the University of Auckland, and holds more than 300 patents involving wireless charging technology.

According to Stuff, the price paid for PowerbyProxi could be in the high tens of millions, based on share prices for the Kiwi company paid by earlier investors. The company’s designs and IP are used in many consumer and non-consumer applications around the world.

Dan Riccio, senior-vice president of hardware engineering at Apple, said that the team would be a “great addition as Apple works to create a wireless future”, and explained that together, they could make charging an “effortless” action in the near future.

It is not clear if Apple will be keeping the development in New Zealand for the long term, but Graeme Muller of NZTech said that PowerbyProxi’s founders “would almost certainly reinvest the sale proceeds back into the economy, potentially starting other new businesses and creating a ‘multiplier effect’”.

Apple seeking wireless innovation

Last month, Apple announced its immediate plans for wireless charging, namely a product called AirPower.

AirPower is a wireless charging pad that can work without a special iPhone case by using induction to charge devices. According to MacWorld, an electromagnetic field is used to transfer charging power via a signal received by the pad to ‘handshake’ with the device and begin the charging process. Only the iPhones 8, 8 Plus and X work with the mat.

PowerbyProxi has gained international plaudits for its development of wireless charging systems based on the Wireless Power Consortium’s Future Qi wireless standard.

The acquisition by Apple suggests that Tim Cook and company are looking at more high-powered wireless charging solutions for iPads and MacBooks in the future.

Apple Store in Santa Monica. Image: View Apart/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects