Apple aims to improve wireless charging by purchasing New Zealand based 'PowerbyProxi'
With the iPhone 8 (and iPhone 8 Plus) (and the upcoming iPhone X) Apple has added wireless charging to their smartphones for the first time. Apple has chosen the Qi charging standard, which has helped influence which will be the dominant wireless charging standard going forward, but Apple doesn’t have their own skin in the game yet.
This is set to change as Apple has just purchased New Zealand based ‘PowerbyProxi,’ who is known for producing the proxi-module platform which allows non-wireless-charging-capable devices to have wireless charging abilities enabled.
PowerbyProxi has been around since 2007 and emerged out of Auckland University with the goal of creating ways for all devices to handle wireless charging without the manufacturer having to include that ability at launch. The company has around 55 staff and 300 patents to their name.
Graeme Muller, the chief executive of technology industry body NZTech, said that "wireless charging could become ubiquitous in Apple devices within a generation and it would become one of those little-known facts that [this particular] technology originated in New Zealand.”
What Mr. Muller is referring to here is the problem that companies face when one based in a small market such as New Zealand (4.5million people) are purchased by one in a larger market, and they move the business offshore, removing skills or employment opportunities from the smaller market.
"My gut feeling is this will be a piece of technology that New Zealand has had a hand in being involved in, and a generation from now it won't be associated with New Zealand [at all] – it will be this 'cool invention that Apple came up with.'"
While the business sale price is undisclosed, it is expected to be in the high tens of millions, and possibly in the low hundreds of millions. Either way, this is beneficial to the New Zealand economy, and the effect would only be multiplied if Apple decided to leave the team based in New Zealand.