Apple snaps up TI-based modular wireless charging designer

October 26, 2017 //By Nick Flaherty
Apple has bought a small developer of wireless charging technology based around the Qi specification that could see a boost for Texas Instruments.

PowerbyProxi is based in New Zealand and is a spin out of the University of Auckland and in 2014 signed a licensing deal with TI to share resonant charging technology using Qi.

The university at Auckland has a strong heritage with wireless charging, with the technology behind Qualcomm Halo system also developed there as HaloIPT.

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PowerbyProxi developed a 100W modular wireless power and data system based around a 65mm coil.  The PM100 chassis is waterproof and can be used for different docking topologies, and the control system includes foreign object detection and dynamic pairing. The company also developed a communications module that converts CAN bus, Ethernet and GPIO signals to wireless control.

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The deal was confirmed by Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering, Dan Riccio, saying the team would stay in New Zealand.

Apple has added Qi wireless charging to is iPhone 8 using chips from Broadcom with 5W third party chargers, although 7.5W will be possible later this year via a firmware upgrade. It is also planning its own higher power charger called AirPower. Apple also works closely with Dialog Semiconductor on power management technology.