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As rumors swirl around Apple's potential integration of wireless charging in future iPhone models, The Verge discovered the company has recently hired a pair of engineers with specialties focused in wireless charging and ultrasonic technology. Those two hires came in the past four months, but they are part of a larger group of more than a dozen wireless charging hires over the past two years.

ubeam_graphic.jpg

The two latest hires, Jonathan Bolus and Andrew Joyce, come from startup uBeam, which is working on a wireless charging technique centered around the harnessing of ultrasonic waves that are converted into electricity to charge an electronic device. Questions about the viability of uBeam's technology have been around for a while, and former VP of Engineering at uBeam, Paul Reynolds, has been highlighting the company's errors and potential for failure on his personal blog. The most recent post centers around the mishandled and controversial PR battle faced by blood test startup Theranos, and the suggested implications similarly affecting uBeam.
Last week a former engineer from the much hyped wireless charging startup uBeam left some scathing criticism of the company on his blog. He compared uBeam to the now disgraced startup Theranos, saying that uBeam has avoided any full-fledged public demonstrations because its technology doesn't work as advertised. While it can do some very limited charging over a short distance, he allowed, the basic laws of physics prevent the product from being practical at any commercial level.
Given the ongoing controversy over the viability of uBeam's proposed technology, it is perhaps unsurprising some of its engineers are looking at other job opportunities, and Apple's interest in wireless charging makes the company a natural fit.

Apple has filed various patents relating to wireless charging in the past, but remains quiet on its implementation in a future iPhone. Apple executives have downplayed the significance and usefulness of wireless charging before, mainly due to the necessity of users needing some kind of mat to lay the iPhone on, which would still need to be plugged into a wall.

A possible solution for that problem came from a Bloomberg report earlier in the year, which said Apple was pursuing an extended range wireless charging technique that would negate the need of a separate charging mat and fuel up an iPhone from across a room with no extraneous accessories required. Apple never commented on the report, but speculation suggested Apple could be working with Energous Corporation on the technology.

uBeam's promise for wireless charging is similar to Apple's alleged goal of a free range, totally wireless charging ability for iPhone devices, so the two new hires could be helping the company introduce such a feature into a new model down the line. Reports early in the year pointed to the introduction of wireless charging in this year's iPhone 7, but it's largely expected now for the feature to be held off until 2017 or even later.

Article Link: Apple Hires Pair of Engineers From Wireless Charging Startup uBeam
 
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Amacfa

macrumors 68000
May 22, 2009
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The tech they are working on - in theory - should allow you to charge your device wirelessly while in the same room, or at least a considerable distance.

Now take this technology and just plug it into a Portable Battery Pack instead of the wall, then put it in your purse or backpack... and suddenly you become a walking charger.
 
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69Mustang

macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
7,881
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In between a rock and a hard place
uBeam... hmm

{sniff} Kinda smells like {sniff, sniff}... like {sniff)... like GT Advance :eek: I could be wrong through.

More importantly, I have concerns about the affects of extended wireless charging on other electronics in the charging zone. May be nothing, but I have yet to see an info addressing the issue.
 

Lepton

macrumors 6502a
Apr 13, 2002
849
288
Cold Spring Harbor, NY
Apple wireless charging MUST have some range to it, at least a meter. Sit down at my desk and my phone starts charging while still in my pocket because of the charging unit by my desk. Go to sleep while wearing my Apple Watch and it starts charging because of the charger unit by my bed. And in my car, the phone could charge wirelessly while simultaneously using wireless CarPlay. No need to plug anything in anywhere is the Apple way.
 

rictus007

macrumors 6502
Oct 12, 2011
373
921
Is this the solution for "yet another thing to charge" people? Lately I heard this complaint weekly for reasons to not buy new devices.
 

thekeyring

macrumors 68040
Jan 5, 2012
3,482
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London
Apple is very late in the wireless charging game. Seems that

The Watch charges wirelessly - the current is sent over the magnetic field I believe. Not sure about MagSafe in the MacBooks.

Just not mid/long range wireless.

The pads and things competitors have are interesting because you can just place your phone down and it starts charging, but they aren't a great deal better than plugging your phone in.
 
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ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
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Apple wireless charging MUST have some range to it, at least a meter. Sit down at my desk and my phone starts charging while still in my pocket because of the charging unit by my desk. Go to sleep while wearing my Apple Watch and it starts charging because of the charger unit by my bed. And in my car, the phone could charge wirelessly while simultaneously using wireless CarPlay. No need to plug anything in anywhere is the Apple way.

One meter sounds pretty good to me.
 
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cmichaelb

macrumors 68020
Aug 6, 2008
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Apple wireless charging MUST have some range to it, at least a meter. Sit down at my desk and my phone starts charging while still in my pocket because of the charging unit by my desk. Go to sleep while wearing my Apple Watch and it starts charging because of the charger unit by my bed. And in my car, the phone could charge wirelessly while simultaneously using wireless CarPlay. No need to plug anything in anywhere is the Apple way.

Hope there are no mishaps or goodbye nuts! :rolleyes:
 

brendu

Cancelled
Apr 23, 2009
2,472
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I have been predicting this for years. If you look back at Phil Schiller's comments on "wireless charging" competitors have been using over the past few years you can tell Apple has been working toward this for awhile.
 

Xultar

macrumors 6502a
Dec 4, 2010
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I have been predicting this for years. If you look back at Phil Schiller's comments on "wireless charging" competitors have been using over the past few years you can tell Apple has been working toward this for awhile.

This isn't rocket science. They'd have to be working towards this. Everyone is working towards this.


I'm not getting another Apple device until I get some wireless charging. I haven't seen anything to make me feel excited enough to give Apple another dollar towards a device purchase.
 
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