Apple Hires Pair of Engineers From Wireless Charging Startup uBeam

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
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.

Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

Apple Knowledge Navigator Avatar
83 months ago
Sounds scary. I just have that image of Jar Jar Binks and the podracer energy beam...
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Zirel Avatar
83 months ago


Ready your lawyers, Apple...

Class action lawsuit incoming from HHM.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LordQ Avatar
83 months ago
Stupid mats are not really wireless charging, this is.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DavidLeblond Avatar
83 months ago
This makes my tumors tremble with delight!
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jakexb Avatar
83 months ago
Smart hire. People who understand exactly why something doesn't work are invaluable to getting to something that does work.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
KazKam Avatar
83 months ago
I really don't understand why everyone gets all excited about this. How difficult is it to plug in a cable?! The complexity and risks involved in wireless charging just don't add up to the perceived benefits, IMO.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iphone 14 pro max vs 13 max 2

Camera Comparison: iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:44 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max introduce some major improvements in camera technology, adding a 48-megapixel lens and low-light improvements across all lenses with the new Photonic Engine. We've spent the last week working on an in-depth comparison that pits the new iPhone 14 Pro Max against the prior-generation iPhone 13 Pro Max to see just how much better the iPhone 14 Pro Max can be. Subscrib ...
tony blevins car

Apple Procurement VP Departs Company After Vulgar TikTok Comment

Thursday September 29, 2022 12:38 pm PDT by
Tony Blevins, Apple's vice president of procurement, is set to depart the company after he made a crude comment about his profession in a recent TikTok video, reports Bloomberg. Blevins was in a video by TikTok creator Daniel Mac, who was doing a series on the jobs of people he spotted with expensive cars. After seeing Blevins in an expensive Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Mac asked Blevins what ...
Dark Sky App Featured

Dark Sky Removed From iOS App Store Ahead of Upcoming Shutdown

Wednesday September 28, 2022 4:27 pm PDT by
The Dark Sky weather app that's owned by Apple is no longer available for download in the U.S. App Store, suggesting that it has been removed ahead of schedule. Apple acquired Dark Sky back in March 2020 and has since incorporated elements of the app into the Weather app available on the iPhone (and soon, the iPad). Dark Sky remained available for purchase as a standalone weather app...
adaptive transparency airpods pro

iOS 16.1 Beta Brings Adaptive Transparency to Original AirPods Pro

Thursday September 29, 2022 1:08 pm PDT by
The third beta of iOS 16.1 that was released earlier this week expands the Adaptive Transparency feature introduced with the second-generation AirPods Pro to the original AirPods Pro. As noted on Reddit, first-generation AirPods Pro owners who also have the AirPods beta software will now see an "Adaptive Transparency" toggle in the AirPods section of the Settings app. The 5A304A beta...
tim cook malala

Tim Cook: Not Too Long From Now, You'll Wonder How You Led Your Life Without AR

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:26 am PDT by
Speaking at Università Degli Studi di Napoli Federico II in Naples, Italy, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that not too long from today, people will wonder how they led a life without augmented reality, stressing the "profound" impact it will have on the not so distant future. At the university, Cook was awarded an Honorary Degree in Innovation and International Management and also sat down for a...
iPhone 15 to Switch From Lightning to USB C in 2023 feature sans arrow

Kuo: iPhone 14 Pro Max Popularity Could Lead to More Differentiation Between iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

Wednesday September 28, 2022 10:22 am PDT by
Apple has seen high demand for the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, which could lead the company to further differentiate the next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Apple could add exclusive features to the iPhone 15 Pro Max in an effort to encourage more people to purchase the larger and more expensive device. Kuo last week said that Apple asked...
iOS 16 Wallpaper Spectrum Feature

Five Wallpaper Apps to Check Out for iOS 16's New Lock Screen Depth Effect

Thursday September 29, 2022 9:08 am PDT by
One of the biggest new features in iOS 16 is a completely redesigned iPhone Lock Screen. The new Lock Screen is entirely customizable, letting you change the colors and fonts, add widgets and new wallpapers, and more to make your iPhone uniquely yours. Of course, even before iOS 16, you could customize your Lock Screen with a wallpaper of your choice. iOS 16 takes the Lock Screen wallpaper...
apple watch ultra deuglify 1

Apple Watch Ultra User Mods Titanium Casing to 'Deuglify' Design

Tuesday September 27, 2022 8:05 am PDT by
An Apple Watch Ultra user has modified their new device's casing to add a brushed finish and remove the orange color of the Action Button in an effort to make it more visually appealing. The Apple Watch Ultra offers the first complete redesign of the Apple Watch since the product line's announcement in 2014, and while the design has been met with praise from many users, some have criticized...
mx mechanical keyboard logitech

Logitech Launches New 'Designed for Mac' Mice and Keyboards

Wednesday September 28, 2022 12:01 am PDT by
Logitech today announced the launch of several new mice and keyboards that have been developed for use with Apple's Macs, including Logitech's first mechanical keyboard that has been optimized for the Mac. The MX Mechanical Mini for Mac Keyboard has a keyboard layout designed for Macs, with tools to customize shortcuts with Logi Options+. The keyboard uses Tactile Quiet low-profile switches...
iphone 14 iphone 14 plus in hand feature

iPhone 14 Is Secretly Hiding a Beloved Mac Feature

Friday September 30, 2022 3:24 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models bring over a longstanding Mac feature, but the setting to enable it is off by default. The feature, which is actually a new accessibility option, allows the iPhone to play a startup chime like the Mac. When enabled, the sound comes alongside a new shutdown chime. The Mac has featured a startup chime since 1987's Macintosh II, and the iconic "bong"...