Apple Hires Former Samsung Battery Exec as New ‘Global Head of Battery Developments’

Apple has hired an executive from Samsung SDI Co. to strengthen the battery life and performance of products.


A new Bloomberg report explains that Apple has poached Soonho Ahn from battery maker Samsung SDI Co. as “global head of battery developments.” According to his profile, Ahn worked on “next generation” battery technology as senior VP of Samsung SDI.

Ahn joined Apple in December, after working at Samsung SDI since 2015, according to his LinkedIn profile. He has also worked at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, LG Chem, and the Auburn University Space Power Institute.

Ahn’s Linkedin profile shows that he was “in charge of lithium-ion cell and pack developments. Cylindrical, prismatic, and polymer cells for power tools, electric vehicles, e-bikes, smartphones, etc.” which covers a lot of territory for Apple including iDevices, Macs, and Project Titan.

This move from Apple is seen as part of the tech giant’s efforts to reduce its dependence on third-party components. Earlier, Apple had sourced batteries from Samsung SDI for its products.

It’s worth noting that Samsung SDI was responsible for making most faulty Galaxy Note 7 batteries, but the company also made the Galaxy S8 batteries. And Samsung touted the Galaxy S8 packs as being more durable than previous generations. In fact, the Korean company reportedly said Galaxy S8 batteries retain 95 percent capacity after two years of usage, compared to 80 percent capacity for the Galaxy S7. By comparison, Apple claims its batteries will retain 80 percent capacity after 500 charging cycles.

Bloomberg also reports that Apple has been in talks to purchase cobalt — a key component for batteries — directly from miners. With Ahn on the team, Apple could be not only manufacturing but also fine-tuning its own batteries tailored specifically for its products.

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