A year later, Apple’s MagSafe continues to disappoint

A year ago yesterday I wrote how MagSafe could be the number one reason to buy an iPhone 12. I believed so too. It looked like Apple had cracked the code to effortlessly accessorize the iPhone and even add new modular capabilities. The company showed off its expensive new MagSafe cases and wallets that seem to snap into place, along with faster wireless charging. The future looked bright.

But if you became an early adopter like me, you might have been disappointed. As Bloombergby Mark Gurman points out, two of Apple’s first overpriced MagSafe accessories are already obsolete. First, we just learned on Friday that Apple’s $ 129 MagSafe Duo charger cannot quickly charge an Apple Watch Series 7. Second, Apple has already replaced the $ 59 MagSafe leather wallet with a better version than you. support Find My so your phone can remember where it was when it was taken out.

I think Gurman might actually underestimate, however. The new leather wallet with MagSafe too doesn’t support Apple’s $ 49 clear case with MagSafe, so hopefully you didn’t buy one thinking it would stand the test of time – apparently it blocks tags NFC that MagSafe accessories like the wallet use to passively identify themselves on the phone.

And while we’re on the case, every official iPhone 12 Case (and probably the vast majority of thirds) are incompatible with the iPhone 13 lineup, as the camera bump has widened this time around. I took these “free” iPhone deals to upgrade to an iPhone 13 Mini (love the improved battery life, by the way), and now I have an expensive clear case but useless with MagSafe that I don’t know what to do with.

Image: Apple

These are just the latest disappointments, however. It didn’t take long for iPhone 12 buyers like me to find out that no, Apple’s new cases don’t snap into place like they do in the Apple animations I showed you the last year (see above and below). They still sit on a ledge that grips the edges of your phone and requires pressure to insert and remove.

Image: Apple

Many Edge Editors have also complained that the $ 39 MagSafe charging cable doesn’t have a cord long enough to be used on the couch or in bed where its quick detach feature could actually help – but Apple still sells the same. 1 meter cable one year later. My MagSafe pad is now unused on a shelf, while I reluctantly plug in a Lightning cable instead. Meanwhile, neither it nor the $ 129 MagSafe Duo still comes with charging bricks, although previous Apple USB-C chargers you might own (18W and 29W) aren’t good enough for them. drive at full speed. They require 20W and 30W chargers, respectively, which Apple sells for $ 19 or $ 49 each.

And although it took Apple nearly a year to launch its own MagSafe battery pack, we were disappointed with its capacity in our review. I bought and returned one myself, but not for one of the reasons explained by Dieter. I just couldn’t stand the weakness of the vertical magnet, even with Apple’s own Clear Case, with the pack still twisting in my hand. (Without the case, my iPhone 12 Mini felt uncomfortably warm to hold.)

Each of these examples speaks to a lack of forethought around MagSafe, and this is unusual. Foresight is usually one of Apple’s strengths, only offering new products and technologies when their time is right. But for me, the real tragedy of MagSafe’s first year is the lack of a larger ecosystem. The whole time we’ve been waiting for Apple to show us what MagSafe is really capable of, it has kept the rest of the world from getting ahead – using its MFi program and the artificial charging restrictions built into the iPhone.

Combining the Qi wireless charging standard with non-patentable magnets, MagSafe should have been a lightning rod for customization and modularity. So far, Apple has isolated itself – and we – from the possibilities.

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