Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) recently confirmed their latest high profile acquisition in the form of New Zealand based wireless charging firm PowerbyProxi. On the surface, this strikes as a curious move by the tech giant, especially considering that the latest Apple flagship smartphones – iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X – support the Qi wireless charging standard. A closer look, however, may provide us with a hint towards Apple’s future plans for this technology.
Apple’s affiliation with wireless charging is particularly recent. In fact, until the launch of iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, no Apple device supported this functionality. This has long been a bone of contention among Apple and Android users, who have had support for wireless charging for several years now. Although Apple is admittedly late to the party, this new acquisition points to Apple’s aggressive efforts to catch up with the rest of the industry.
Nevertheless, the question remains, why has Apple bought PoweByProxi, especially when the company has already managed to implement this functionality by its own? To know this, we must have a closer look at PowerbyProxi.
Currently, wireless charging capabilities for handheld devices are fairly weak, and slower than their wired counterparts. They are also limited by capacity, with most solutions not even hitting 7.5 watts as of now. In contrast, PowerbyProxi sells products with far more massive capacities, even up to 150 Watts in some cases.
This acquisition also falls in line with Apple’s fundamental philosophy; As a general rule of thumb, Apple does not integrate nascent technologies into their products but waits until their tech is fully mature and offers clear advantages over the competition.
This acquisition hints towards possible plans for larger wireless charging mats, capable of charging multiple devices simultaneously, ranging from smaller iPhones and Apple Watches to larger iPads and MacBooks. We already know of their plans for the AirPower charging mat, which will allow for simultaneous wireless charging of newer iPhones, Apple Watches and Airpods. Apple has also spoken of its desire to create a ‘wireless future’.
“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”, Said Fady Mishriki, founder and CEO of PowerbyProxi
We have seen this from Apple plenty of times before. Apple acquisition of PrimeSense eventually paved the way for FaceID, SRI International led to the creation of Siri, and many more examples. However, it was years before any of those acquisitions paid any dividends. It is safe to assume that a similar thing will happen with PowerbyProxi. Currently, they provide industrial and medical wireless charging situations. It would take years for the technology to be translated for the consumer electronics industry. Nevertheless, if everything goes to plan for Apple, we could be heading towards a truly wireless future.