A wireless charging firm known as PowerbyProxi has been acquired by Apple. The firm which is based in New Zealand was started ten years ago by Fady Mishriki. As a University of Auckland’s spin-out venture, PowerbyProxi specializes in modules that are compliant with the Qi wireless charging standards that allow the transfer of power wirelessly to various devices.
PowerbyProxi currently has a workforce of about 55 people and holds wireless charging-related patents that number over 300. The amount of money that the Cupertino, California-based tech giant paid for PowerbyProxi was not disclosed.
According to the chief executive officer of Auckland-based technology incubator Icehouse, Andy Hamilton, investors got a return from their investments. Some of the investors in the company include Icehouse, which had stake of 2%, Movac and Samsung Ventures – Samsung Group’s global investment arm. Four years ago Samsung Ventures injected $4 million into PowerbyProxi.
Dan Riccio, Apple’s hardware engineering senior vice president, said the acquisition would contribute greatly to the wireless-future ambitions that the tech giant has. According to Riccio the iPhone maker intends to introduce wireless charging to more customers and places across the globe.
Qi wireless charging standard
Per the chief executive officer of NZTech, Graeme Muller, it was unlikely that Apple would maintain development of PowerbyProxi’s products in New Zealand for the long run especially because the tech giant tends to tightly control and manage its efforts in research and development.
“Most organisations see there is some cool innovation coming out of New Zealand, and when they buy into that they often try and keep some level of a lab presence here, but it does depend on the company’s culture,” Muller said.
Last month Apple launched new iPhones which all now support wireless charging standards and these included the iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone 8. This came after the tech giant had been widely criticized by analysts and market researchers for being left behind by rivals such as Samsung which already supported wireless charging in various mobile devices including tablets and smartphones.
During the same launch event Apple also disclosed that next year it will be unveiling AirPower – a wireless charging pad which will be capable of charging multiple Apple devices including the Apple Watch, the iPad and the iPhone simultaneously. Earlier in the year Apple joined the Wireless Power Consortium, an industry body charged with developing the Qi standard which the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 now support.