Apple staffing up on wireless charging experts


As far as other rumors about next year’s iPhone go, it could boast an all-glass design, be waterproof, and even boast an edge-to-edge display. It could also be called the iPhone 8. The 2017 iPhone is also rumored to feature an OLED display.

Wireless charging works on the principle of electromagnetic induction. Coils of wire in the base station (the charging plate) create a magnetic field as the current passes through. This field can induce an electrical current in an adjacent coil of wire without actually touching it. If this wire is part of a battery charging circuit, then you have wireless charging.

wireless charging
wireless charging

With that same principle, a coil of wire… magnet… battery… you can make it go the other way too. Spin a magnet in the coil and you’ll GENERATE electricity by taking that magnetic flux and moving it through that coil to create electricity. The battery creates a stable electromagnet because it’s direct current, it’s going one way. The power from your walls is alternating current, changes direction 60 times a second — or cycles at 60 hertz — so the electrons are moving back and forth — remember that because that’s the key to the charging. Wireless inductive charging gets its name from that magnetic field interaction, called induction.

wireless charging
wireless charging

Two other companies, Ossia and Energous, claim to have technology at a distance, but again, neither has submitted those technologies to rigorous public testing or shipped a commercial product that backs up that promise. Ossia’s patents focus on using radio frequencies similar to WiFi to transmit energy, and Energous claims to use radio frequencies as well.

Secretive wireless charging startup uBeam has been in the public eye a lot lately–and not in a good way. The Los Angeles-based company, which says it’s creating technology that can charge devices wirelessly, was recently called out by a former executive as being bogus. Paul Reynolds, who was the company’s VP of engineering from 2013 until this past October, accused uBeam–which has more than $25 million in investor funding–of exaggerating its progress and overselling how close the technology is to feasibility.

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