Was AirPower a Detour and MagSafe a Half-Way to Destination?

From ‘Once upon a time to sneaking into the Future,’ Apple took its time to improvise and enhance the experience with its Concept of MagSafe.

Initially launched on January 10 2006, the concept got its inspiration from magnetic power connectors used in deep fryers and Japanese Countertop cooking appliances in the early 2000s. While it has its pros in the segment, Apple didn’t leave any stone unturned to experiment with its Devices to ease accessibility.

This was when it was facing troubles with its barrel connector during the days of iBook and PowerBook. That’s how MagSafe made its first entry with MacBook Pro in 2006 and continued for a decade until the Big Boys decided to replace it with USB-C in Retina MacBook and MacBook Pro, launched in 2016. The last MacBook to have MagSafe was the 2017 MacBook Air.

But that wasn’t the dusk of innovation. Instead, Apple took its time to learn the loopholes and hit back by taking curtains of the 2020 MagSafe accessories designed for the iPhone 12 Range.

Getting Ready for The Future

It isn’t like the idea to go wireless came out of the blue. Apple had plans to go wireless since 2017. That was the time when they introduced ‘AirPower Wireless Charging Pad’ at the iPhone X event. Acknowledging that, by then, iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XS, XS Max, & XR and iPhone 11 series and iPhone SE (2020) all supported wireless charging through available Qi charging mats and accessories. Hence the vision was to serve iPhone users with an in-house developed wireless charging mat.

However, nothing worked for 18 Months. It was then Apple’s SVP of hardware engineering, Dan Riccio released a statement, “After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards, and we have cancelled the project. We apologize to those customers who were looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward.”

Even though Apple introduced wireless charging supportive devices long back, it’s home-made wireless charger was still missing. While the world thought Apple threw the idea of going Wireless in some dump-box, the Big Boys started preparations in the background, without creating much fuss about it.

Not until 2020!!

A Fresh Start: Introducing MagSafe for iPhone

At the ‘Hi, Speed’ event on October 13, 2020, Apple took curtains off from MagSafe for iPhone 12 lineup. The series included MagSafe Charger and compatible cases and wallets for the iPhone 12 Series.

While wireless charging has been counted as a groundbreaking innovation, it did have some loopholes. One major drawback was aligning the wireless charging pad with the coil inside the device. The reason being, until the two are not aligned together, the user can’t charge the device properly.

With the launch of MagSafe, the Cupertino based tech giant bridged the gap in an appreciable manner. Maybe we can call it an alternate or upgraded and refined version of AirPower. Besides Magnets, AirPower was Apple’s attempt to charge multiple device wirelessly using a single mat. However, MagSafe for now is just for iPhone.

MagSafe Supported Accessories for iPhone

The section will have all the features and functionalities of MagSafe combined with the capabilities of inductive charging. Technocrats at the smartphone making company have integrated strong magnets in the iPhone 12 lineup and the MagSafe charger. This will allow the inductive charging cords to build a seamless connection between each other and offer an exceptional charging experience. The MagSafe charger, once connected, can deliver charging up to 15W, which is double the charging strength of prevailing Qi wireless chargers. Though, this more or less depends on the adapter you are using. For the best experience, consider using Apple’s 20W USB-C power adapter.

Charging iPhone with MagSafe Charger

Talking about the accessories, leveraging the power of wireless charging gets further comfortable with MagSafe cases. They are made using silicon but have smartly placed magnets to help you built a connection and align the charger with the coils and magnets inside your iPhone 12 device to deliver faster charging.

Authenticating The Feasibility

Looking at the tech giant’s past, users were assured that it wouldn’t release something until it’s sure about its product quality. In particular, talking about MagSafe, it was primarily loved by users when it was for mac, and now with iPhone 12, it received the same acceptance. However, people still are curious to use it once and feel the experience.

Few points that were highlighted by Apple and noticed while reviewing the products include;

The Good Side of MagSafe Charger

While there’s so much yet to reveal, these are few points that can be highlighted as of now.

  1. It’s compatible with all iPhone devices that support wireless charging and not just iPhone 12 lineup.
  2. It offers fast charging. And when we say that, we mean faster than any other prevailing wireless charger in the market.
  3. Alignment could have never been so easy. Unlike other wireless chargers, you don’t have to worry about aligning your device with the charging cords on your wireless charger. The Magnets do it for you.
  4. It’s portable. Available at an unbelievably small size, it can be carried anywhere without any trouble. Think of a tiny ‘white orb’ kept on your desk, delivering unmatched power.
  5. It comes with AI and disconnects charging as soon as your iPhone touched 80% battery. This is done to prevent any damage due to overheating and helps you maintain the battery health of your device over the long run. However, the charging can be continued further once the device and charger return to room temperature.
  6. It holds your device firmly, preventing it from slipping off or falling due to any reason. Thanks to the smartly placed magnets in iPhone 12 series and MagSafe charger.
  7. Though it might not be so strong for other devices, it still helps you surpass the alignment procedure and initiate fast charging seamlessly.

The Ugly Side

Like any other technology, MagSafe has its pros and cons. Let’s have a look at the ugly side.

  1. The wireless charger may heat the device. This is the reason that it’ll charge till 80% and will stop upon sensing device heat. The charging will resume only when the device cools down.
  2. The cases might get circular imprints due to MagSafe Charger.
  3. The magnetic strips and RFID chips on your bank cards or any other access card may get damaged due to the charger. Hence, Apple has recommended to remove them while charging your device. It also shared guidelines for the best usage of MagSafe on its official website.
  4. You’ll require Apple’s USB-C power adapter to unleash the complete 15W fast charging experience. The adapter has to be purchased separately.
  5. No one-handed usage. Mainly for iPhone 12 lineup, the charger sticks pretty well. You’ll have to slip it off with a little force using your fingers or use the second hand to detach your iPhone. Don’t try to just pick and move.

The Near Future

It’s undeniable that Apple’s products are backed with great R & D. In a recently released report by Statista, we can have a closer look at their annual spending on the related department. Here’s the chart.

As can be seen, they have consistently raised the budget with USD 2 Billion YoY on an average. The amount does reflect the sincerity and commitment Apple has towards building innovative and user-friendly products.

Can AirPower Be Considered a Detour While Reaching MagSafe?

It failed, and Apple didn’t hesitate to accept that the device didn’t match their standards. With the advent of MagSafe, it is safe to presume that it might reroute the Operandi to manufacture AirPower after taking key considerations from its latest launch.

MagSafe did create new milestones for its competitors by looking at the prevailing market of wireless chargers, their capacity, and ease of use.

Let’s have a look at a few key expectations that we can keep from the future.

  1. According to FCC WPT report surfaced sharing that the iPhone 12 devices can transmit power to other devices. This being said, we can expect to have AirTags and AirPods getting charged through our iPhone. The model mentioned in the report is the iPhone 12 Pro Max. However, it also specifies that all the iPhone 12 series models are electrically identical with similar PCB layout, design standard components, antenna locations, antennas, and housing cases. The one significant difference between them is of mmWave Transmitter.
  2. The MagSafe accessories lineup will expand exponentially. We can soon expect to have snap-on gaming controls, Magnetic desk organizers, wireless power banks that fast charging, etc.
  3. Apple transformed its MacBook lineup into a single cable charging and data transfer module using USB-C. Considering that MagSafe doesn’t support wireless data transfer, we can expect to have the functionality shortly.
  4. If we consider AirPower as an initial attempt to go wireless, MagSafe may prove to wipe off the errs committed then. Having said this, we can expect to have a refined AirPower housed with Magnets and coils to charge all Apple devices.
  5. With MagSafe, Apple has created a new playground for accessory makers. The more creative ideas may take physical form in the coming days by various third-party players.
  6. The FCC report, too, is expected to play a vital role in deciding the accessories’ future. Once the feature is unlocked and all falls right, having accessories and devices that could work unanimously with the WPT technology can expand the horizon.

This is just a milestone over Apple’s much-anticipated boulevard to creating a wireless world of iPhone. What started with AirPods is expected to soon land in ultimately going wireless. It might not be soon, but expect to have the next frame by the end of 2021. Are you prepared?

Mayank is a published author and a tech-blogger with over ten years of writing experience for various domains and industries. At iGeeks, he mostly writes about blogs that solve user-problems and guide them on unleashing the full potential of their Apple Device. He can often be found with his headphones on, typing to the rhythm of some country song.