Perhaps Apple has an ancestral curse associated with wireless charging technology, the company has not been able to implement this feature in its smartphones for many years. Then it appeared, but the charging speed left much to be desired, competitors by that time had changed a couple of generations of wireless chargers, learned reversible charging – this is when the phone can charge headphones or a watch, an extremely convenient thing in everyday life. Apple has not yet been able to create reverse charging, although several companies that specialize in wireless charging technology have bought it. A rare case when the company officially announced AirPower, a unique wireless charger that, in words, was able to charge several devices at the same time, and put them on the mat as you like.
In 2017, when Apple announced AirPower, the company had absolutely nothing but pictures of the device and the understanding that it is not the gods who burn the pots, and if the same Samsung can create something similar, then Apple will definitely do it in a matter of months. The officially announced device was quietly and quietly canceled, all references to it were removed from the Apple website. Apple could not overpower wireless charging.
Interestingly, Apple did not have such an accessory as wireless charging; third-party chargers were sold in the store and on the company’s website. At the same time, the iPhone supported the generally accepted Qi standard, with a maximum charging power of 7.5 W (for some models, after updates, the power was reduced to 5 W, as the battery overheated).
Together with the presentation of 12 iPhone models, the company showed its first wireless charger – MagSafe. A short excursion into the history of the name MagSafe will be useful here, it appeared for the company’s laptops and denoted a charger connector that was magnetized to the laptop case. The engineers were solving a simple problem: how to avoid the laptop falling when a person trips over the charging wire. At that time, the charging attachment was so strong that, tripping over the wire, many dropped the laptop from the table, and as a result, it broke.
The MagSafe solution was simple, ingenious and working, the magnet “sucked” the charger to the connector, pulling the wire, you turned off the charger, the laptop did not fly to the floor. There were two generations of MagSafe in total, and in the photo you see my 2013 MacBook Pro with this connector. Alas, then the company abandoned this technology in favor of the standard USB Type C, which can be considered a big mistake. It was unique and useful.
In 2020, Apple is calling its first wireless charger MagSafe, as it also uses a magnet. But this is where all the similarities end, and the striking differences begin.
The phone has a built-in magnet, which positions the external charger exactly in the middle of the case, it is sucked in the right place. And it is presented as an innovation that other companies lack. But is it really necessary and important?
The first thing that interested me was the strength with which the MagSafe attaches itself to the case. And here the Apple engineers did not disappoint expectations, they did everything with a plus, it is impossible to accidentally tear off the smartphone from charging. What’s more, you can hang it on a MagSafe wire.
This is a key difference from the old MagSafe, where the word Safe meant safety for the device, pulling the wire – and the laptop does not fly to the floor. On the other hand, there is definitely no such problem for a smartphone, usually the charger is located on the table, and it is almost impossible to accidentally sweep it to the floor.
But let’s do what Apple engineers could not do, let’s see how wireless chargers work from all other manufacturers.
For example, the Trio charger from Samsung allows you to simultaneously charge up to three devices, including the iPhone 12. When I come home, I take out my smartphone and just put it on the charging surface, the indicator shows that charging has started (the smartphone screen also lights up). You can also charge a second smartphone, headphones or watch, whatever you want. The convenience of wireless charging that captivates users is that you don’t have to plug a wire into a connector, you just put the device down and then pick it up effortlessly. And this reconciles us to the fact that the efficiency of wireless charging is very low, it wastes a lot of energy, and it charges the phone slowly compared to regular charging. But the comfort of use crosses out these disadvantages, making them insignificant for many.
What’s in Wireless MagSafe? With a certain skill, you can manage to put your smartphone on the charge correctly. But it is best to do this by taking the exercise in your hands. Which kills the first part of the comfort of any wireless charging. You feel the magnets snap into place, charging starts from this moment.
Have you already guessed that you can remove your smartphone from MagSafe just by picking it up? There is no difference with charging with a wire! And this is the biggest omission that cannot be ignored, the convenience of MagSafe is no different from regular wired charging. But the difference in charging speed is huge, let’s see how the iPhone 12 Pro (2815 mAh) charges.
|Time||Wired charging, 25W||MagSafe 25W adapter
(charging itself up to 15W as stated)
For such a small battery, the MagSafe charging time looks disastrously long, three and a half hours, and this is at the declared 15 watts. Here, as usual, there is a slyness from Apple, since charging produces a maximum power of 15 W at the very beginning, and then the power is reduced to avoid overheating the smartphone. In the first thirty minutes, the case heats up noticeably, but then it becomes cool enough, the charging power decreases (the fact that it is made of metal also serves for cooling). For comparison, any 7.5W Qi wireless charger will charge your iPhone 12 Pro in 4 hours. That is, the difference is only in some thirty minutes over a long period of time. But the advantage of wired charging is obvious here, but such a difference, in principle, is typical for any manufacturer.
Apple is known for loving to create its own standards (read slingshots) so that loyal users have to pay extra, and MagSafe is a great example of such slingshots. The Qi standard supports 15W charging, and Apple could have implemented this method (including leaving the magnets and so on), but the company actually added magnets as a way to detect native MagSafe charging and more power. This is a clear intent when a working, but someone else’s technology is limited in opportunities to sell its “quick” solution. But, alas, MagSafe cannot be called a fast charging solution.
The design flaw is that the inner side of the charging, which is magnetised to the body of the smartphone, has a white rubber surface. Dust and other dirt will collect on it, and when charging on a clean body of the device, it will remain in the form of a beautiful circle (it is easily erased, at least at first). Over time, the whiteness of the gum will fade, and dirt will be difficult to peel off, as it will constantly heat up and eat into the surface. This is a decision that no one dared to think of, it was made by the Losers-engineers who invented actually wired charging.
Apple released a large number of cases with MagSafe support, but immediately reported that using wireless charging would harm them, they will leave prints from this charging (the magnet presses the skin, and it is damaged). I have leather cases on my Galaxy Note20 Ultra, Z Fold2, but there is no damage from using wireless charging. And here again, Apple engineers made some kind of childish mistake.
If bank cards or just other cards get between the MagSafe charger and the phone body, they may be damaged. This is an unlikely situation, but one of the cases allows you to carry your cards in your pocket. Before charging, this pocket must be removed from the body of the device (the cover is crappy, easily flies off the body, so I do not advise buying it – lose your cards and will take a long time to restore).
I have not seen so many shortcomings in one accessory for a long time, but here is their cart and a small cart. Apple’s first wireless charging turned out to be at least strange, and I wanted to understand those who praise this solution say that it is excellent.
One of the MagSafe fans, in a new reading, said the following: “Now you can safely carry an external battery in your pocket, charge your iPhone, and it will be magnetized to the MagSafe washer, no other smartphone can do that! And you don’t need to carry a charging wire with you! ”.
I was puzzled by this use case, since I do not see the difference between what you need to carry with you, MagSafe or a charging wire (the second one is clearly smaller in size). It is also not very clear why use wireless charging from an external battery, if the losses here are maximum (to fully charge the iPhone 12 Pro, you need a 10000 mAh battery, which explains all the losses in numbers).
Let me remind you that, in addition to the iPhone 12, you can use MagSafe to charge Apple watches and headphones (if your case allows this). It can also be argued that this is the good old Qi standard, where they limited the charging speed for all devices without a magnet in the case – this way you can charge any smartphones, headphones, and so on (5 W in this case, that’s what the absence of a magnet does!).
MagSafe is priced at $ 39 in the US (RUB 3 in Russia). This is an extremely high price compared to similar chargers. For example, a model from Samsung costs 990 rubles (no magnet), power up to 2 W (in fact, exactly like this).
But it makes sense to buy a charger for several devices, for example, such as the Trio. The price is higher, but this is a classic charger, which gives the convenience of wireless charging, you do not need to take the device with the charger in your hands to use it in the future.
As a conclusion, I want to note that Apple was able to create another option for wired charging. Expensive, slow and pointless.
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