Rumors of Apple’s interest in long-distance wireless charging has been reported in the past, but now one of the company’s suppliers has formed a partnership with one of the leaders in the wireless charging industry. As detailed in a new report from Fast Company, Apple supplier Dialog has partnered with wireless charging company Energous.
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Energous took a $10 million investment from power management chip maker Dialog Semiconductor last month. According to today’s report, “as much as three-quarters of Dialog’s business is with Apple,” almost certainly signaling that the investment will affect Apple.
In a statement, Energous CEO Steve Rizzone stated that the company is transferring all of its silicon operations to Dialog.
“We’re actually transferring all of our silicon operations to Dialog,” says Energous CEO Steve Rizzone. “All the Energous technology will be sold under the Dialog branding and all sales orders will be going through Dialog. It’ll take us about 90 days to do all that,” Rizzone said.
For those unfamiliar, Energous has developed a technology it calls WattUp RF that offers a wire-free charging technology WattUp can charge devices from up to 15-feet away, using a transmitter and receiver setup to do so. Here’s how Energous describes the technology:
WattUp RF-based charging can be integrated to provide wire-free charging to a wide variety of electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets, wearables, cameras, wireless keyboards and mice, headsets, sensors, LED lights, remote controls and toys… A Radio Frequency (RF) system, similar to a Wi-Fi system, delivers safe wire-free charging energy at a distances of up to approximately 15ft from a transmitter to a receiver device, such as a mobile phone, and maintains charging while the receiver is in motion. Up to 12 receiver devices can be managed by the system simultaneously, depending on system specifications.
At the beginning of last year, Energous teased that it was working with a “tier one” consumer electronics company to implement its WattUp technology into consumer devices, but no details have emerged about that partnership as of now.
Additionally, earlier this year, it was speculated that Apple had partnered directly with Energous for wireless charging technology based on SEC filings. Energous denied those reports, however, attributing the filing to regulatory requirement that “blankets any future anticipated testing.”
Energous’ partnership with Dialog, however, is significant for several reasons. First of all, seeing that Apple makes up such a huge portion of Dialog’s business, it’s incredibly likely that Apple will see benefit from the deal. Furthermore, Energous on its own would not have been capable of supply technology to Apple. With Dialog behind it, however, it can use that size and expertise to do just that.
Wireless charging is one of a multitude of changes rumored to be coming with the 2017 iPhone, and this partnership between Dialog and Energous only adds more fuel to the fire.