Apple is on a hiring spree and is looking for wireless charging experts. Bloomberg reported earlier this year that the tech firm plans to add the wireless charging feature to the iPhone it will release in 2017.
uBeam engineers joining Apple
In the past four months, Apple has hired two former uBeam engineers, both of whom have expertise in wireless charging and ultrasonic technology. In the past two years, the company has hired a dozen staffers with expertise in wireless charging. Public LinkedIn data on the recent hires by Apple shows that these former uBeam staffers are part of a much broader trend, says The Verge.
Bloomberg specified that Apple wants to go beyond the minor convenience of a charging mat that allows users to avoid cables, but their device is not fully freed up. The iPhone maker intends to implement a much more advanced technology to make it possible for users to walk around a room and get their phone charged simultaneously, said Bloomberg.
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uBeam makes the exactly same promise, and according to Bloomberg, Apple has already filed patents around this idea.
Apple’s idea of wireless charging
Previously, Apple floated the notion of charging several mobile phones in the vicinity of personal computers used as charging stations. It thought of using near-field magnetic resonance that will allow charging at a distance of about three feet. On the other hand, uBeam intends to use ultrasound waves.
Ossia and Energous are two other companies that claim to have wireless charging technology, but neither of them has submitted their technologies to rigorous public testing or shipped a commercial product backing up that promise. Using microwaves to wirelessly transmit energy is the focus of Ossia’s patents, while Energous claims to use radio frequencies.
Apple’s smartwatch already works with wireless charging, though not over a distance. The iPhone maker has hired engineers specializing in ultrasound technology to work on haptics and sensing for wearable devices, suggesting that the recent hirings from uBeam may be aimed at developing technology that is not related to charging.
As of now, there has been no comment from Apple about the report. The company’s most recent earnings report revealed that its revenue declined for the first time on a year-over-year basis in 13 years, and iPhone sales declined as well. So it is not surprising that the company is looking for ways to differentiate its next generation of smartphones and tablets from the rest of the market.