Apple doubles down on wireless charging with its latest acquisition

Jon Russell
Apple doubles down on wireless charging with its latest acquisition

Apple is doubling on wireless charging, the technology that debuted in this year's iPhone 8 and iPhone X, after it scooped up New Zealand-based company PowerbyProxi in its latest piece of M&A.

Ten-year-old PowerbyProxi is a spinout of the University of Auckland and it is focused on developing wireless charging and power transfer products. That spans wireless control systems, wireless sensors and robotics, as well as areas more obviously suited to Apple such as wireless battery charging.

The deal, which was first reported by Stuff New Zealand, was confirmed by Apple in rare direct statement. Regular watchers of the Cupertino-based company will know all too well that it is usually rather non-specific when it makes acquisitions -- see this recent deal for French company Regaind for a typical example.

"We want to bring truly effortless charging to more places and more customers around the world. Our Auckland team will be a great addition as Apple works to create a wireless future," Apple told TechCrunch in a statement attributed to Dan Riccio, senior vice president of its hardware engineering division.

"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," Fady Mishriki, founder and CEO of PowerbyProxi, added via an accompanying canned comment.

The deal is officially undisclosed but Stuff New Zealand reported that it could be above $100 million.

That would represent a good return for investors, which include New Zealand VC Movac and German industrial firm Darmstadt, who funneled a total of $9 million in capital into the startup. Another less predictable beneficiary is Samsung. The Apple nemesis backed PowerbyProxi via its Samsung Ventures unit some four years ago.

PowerbyProxi's expertise -- which includes over 50 staff and more than 300 patents -- are sure to super charge Apple's wireless efforts. The company's first wireless charging pad, AirPower, is due for release next year while there will also be a wireless charging compatible version of its AirPods, too. You can bet that more Apple products will lose the wires in favor of wireless power options in the future.

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