According to a recent Chinese-language Commercial Times report cited by trade publication DigiTimes, Apple signed a component contract with supplier Lite-On Semi which should provide several parts that the iPhone maker needs in order to realize fast wireless charging on iPhone 8.
The Taiwan-based supplier has been tasked with building GPP bridge rectifiers that help reduce thermal issue and increase efficiency of wireless power transmission.
Lite-On Semi’s stock price on the Taiwan Stock Exchange rallied by its daily ten percent limit to close at NT$28.75 (about $0.91) on January 19 on news that it secured half of the orders for GPP bridge rectifiers for the wireless charger in the upcoming iPhones.
Over the years, Apple filed for several wireless charging patents.
Apple’s executives publicly dismissed wireless charging because existing solutions still require a charging mat connected to power. Apple is believed to be working on a long-range solution that wouldn’t require a charging mat or it wouldn’t need to be as close to an iPhone as in current solutions employed on Android phones.
iPhone manufacturer Foxconn is reportedly building wireless charging modules for Apple that may allow multiple devices to charge. Apple’s solution might incorporate technology from Energous, which at CES 2015 showed off a truly wireless charging system capable of transmitting power to devices over-the-air from 20 feet away.
Energous CEO Steve Rizzone said the solution would begin shipping by the end of 2017, hinting his company signed a “key strategic partnership” with a mystery partner that some people suspect is Apple itself.
The Cupertino firm would still need to overcome technical barriers related to Energous’ solution, including loss of power over distance.
Apple also poached engineers from the controversial wireless charging startup uBeam. uBeam has developed a solution that uses a high frequency transmitter to emit highly focused inaudible ultrasonic sound through the air that targets receivers actively requesting power.
The video shows uBeam founder and CEO Meredith Perry responding to criticism that claims uBeam technology is harmful to humans and pets. Coincidentally or not, uBeam has avoided public demonstrations of its wireless charging technology.
Photo: ON wireless charging case for iPhone.