Two former uBeam engineers with expertise in wireless charging and ultrasonic technology had been hired by Apple, reports The Verge. uBeam is a wireless charging start-up. In the last two years Apple has hired more than a dozen staffers with expertise in wireless charging, the article adds.
The hirings are no surprise. Ever since Samsung launched dual-mode wireless charging on their Galaxy S6 and S6 edge phones last year, all eyes have been on Apple to see whether they would also add wireless charging to the iPhone. Wireless charging is proving very popular with those who have used the technology.
In fact over 90% of respondents in a 2015 IHS customer survey said they would choose wireless charging technology on their next handset. The market tripled in size last year compared to 2014, with more than 160 million wireless charging receivers shipped across all markets. In late 2015 IHS predicted that Apple would introduce some form of wireless charging on the iPhone 7, especially since the company introduced an inductive, proprietary solution on the Apple Watch.
In January, Bloomberg reported that Apple is working with partners in the U.S. and Asia to develop new wireless charging technology that could be deployed on its mobile devices as soon as 2017. The article says that the technologies being investigated would allow iPhones and iPads to be powered from farther away than the charging mats used with current smartphones. Apple is looking to overcome technical barriers including loss of power over distance with a decision on implementing the technology still being assessed, according to Bloomberg.
What’s more, Apple has been granted a patent (number 9,086,864) that would give an iMac the ability to charge Apple accessories by resonant charging. The patent, “Wireless Power Utilization in a Local Computing Environment,” shows an iMac-like device with a NFMR (Near Field Magnetic Resonance) power supply that charges nearby gadgets wirelessly.
And we might even have Macs that on day run on wireless power. In 2014 ComputerWorld predicted that wireless charging would soon come to personal computers., It hasn't happened yet, but its likely that Macs will run via wireless power sooner rather than later.
ComputerWorld’s vision: “Place a laptop on a table, and it'll automatically start charging. No wires needed, no need to carry a power brick. That's how Intel views wireless charging for laptops, which could become a reality next year. Intel wants to make wireless chargers as easy to find as a Wi-Fi signal, and wants to bring the technology to cafes, restaurants, airports and other public places so laptops can be recharged without power adapters. The first laptops with wireless charging could come out next year, and Intel has shown a few prototypes laptop being recharged on a table.”