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Apple axes wireless charging for now

Paul Brislen, Editor. 01 April 2019, 7:03 am

Apple has decided not to move forward with the development of wireless charging stations despite paying an estimated $100 million for Auckland-based wireless power company PowerbyProxi in 2017. Apple has cancelled the AirPower product, claiming it wasn't happy with the quality and consistency of the product and how it operates in a consumer environment.

Whether the company had begun to integrate PowerbyProxi technology into the product remains unclear, as is the future of the company which employs around 60 people, most in its Auckland research and development office.

In 2017 Apple had introduced the product saying it would be able to charge multiple devices on a single pad, but rumour has it that the company couldn't make a charge mat with multiple charging coils work without overheating and so the product was discontinued before it even launched.

According to a statement released to a number of publications, Apple's senior vice president of hardware engineering, Dan Riccio, cancelled the project as it was not able to "achieve our high standards".

"We apologise to those customers who were looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward."

The move  comes following a number of hardware missteps for the company. It's ultra-thin Macbooks have been plagued with keyboard problems and its much vaunted Touch Bar received a muted response. 

Other companies, however, seem not to have a problem with wireless charging and continue to offer products, some in part based on the patent suite owned by PowerbyProxi.  Samsung had bought in to the company in 2013 prior to Apple's buyout and the South Korean tech giant continues to offer wireless charging capability for many of its flagship products.

PowerbyProxi began as a research project at the University of Auckland before being commercialised and spun off into its own entity. In 2014 the company had planned to list on the NZX but the project fell through.


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