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Noting how it wants to bring “truly wireless charging” to more people and more places around the world, Apple on Wednesday morning confirmed in an announcement that it’s acquired PowerbyProxi — a small, New Zealand-based tech startup whose claim-to-fame is the creation of a wireless charging protocol based on the same Qi technology employed in iPhone 8 and iPhone X.
According to the company’s Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering, Dan Riccio, Apple wants to bring “truly effortless charging to more places and more customers around the world,” and ultimately, the PowerbyProxi team “will be a great addition as we work to create a wireless future,” he added, as per the company’s announcement which was first reported by Stuff.
What Is PowerbyProxi?
Founded back in 2007 by Auckland, New Zealand-based entrepreneur, Fady Mishriki, PowerbyProxi is a tech startup whose team successfully created a wireless charging platform dubbed ‘Proxy-Module’ — a bulky hardware device described as “a modular wireless power and data transfer system designed for high-power applications,” according to AppleInsider.
The underlying technology, which was developed in conjunction with a team of researchers at the University of Auckland, utilizes a “65mm power coil operating at 91 percent efficiency” to deliver 100 watts of power wirelessly to a range of devices including drones, phones, robots, medical equipment, and essentially any other type of battery-powered machinery.
Notably, the firm’s Proxi-Module apparatus, though bulky as you can see, boasts a range of impressive features like a waterproof, modular body which allows for a wide range of docking options for various devices, advanced connectivity features, as well as internal circuitry optimized for the quick pairing of devices and more.
At the same time, PowerbyProxi’s team created an add-on accessory dubbed Proxi-Com, which enables the conversion of wired data signals — including CAN bus, Ethernet and GPIO — into wireless.
How Will Apple Use This Technology?
It’s not entirely clear what Apple plans to do with PowerbyProxi or its staff just yet — however based on some of its previous acquisitions, including that of sleep-tracking firm Beddit, we can assume that at least a portion of PowerbyProxi’s team will join Apple’s to help spearhead new in-house projects related to wireless charging.
Worth pointing out, of course, is that Apple’s iPhone 8 and iPhone X were recently unveiled featuring Qi capability, which is considered the universal standard in wireless charging and functions by feeding power to your device when its placed on top of a Qi-enabled wireless charging pad. It’s an incredibly useful technology, to be sure; and though it’s technically been around for years now, Qi has also been improved and enhanced routinely over that same time.
Also worth noting is that Apple was previously rumored to be working with Energous — another “truly wireless charging” startup — earlier this year in an (unsuccessful) bid to bring its tech to iPhone. It’s unlikely however that we’ll see this or any solution employed on an iPhone anytime soon — especially given that Apple is just now hopping on the bare-bones Qi-enabled bandwagon.
Still, the mere fact that Apple was willing to pony up the coin for PowerbyProxi and its team is indication of the company’s interest in developing high-power wireless charging solutions. As noted, PowerbyProxi’s existing hardware is capable of churning out a “continuous stream of power” at up to 100 watts — theoretically meaning that the technology, one day down the line, could even be used to wirelessly charge larger devices like a MacBook or iPad.