Is Apple’s MagSafe the future we want?
The function adds magnets to the iPhone. You will automatically align Apple’s new charging puck and accessories with the back of the phone. The return of MagSafe – a feature Apple has used on MacBook chargers for years – also paints a very clear picture of what Apple intends for future iPhones. Actually, Leaks indicate this The transition could begin as early as next year, when the company is expected to roll out at least one fully portable smartphone.
At first glance, MagSafe is just another wireless charger. Why does this mean a future where ports are an optional rather than a necessary feature? One way to look at it is through another charging accessory. However, timing is crucial.
Between Apple removing the charging brick, removing the friction associated with wireless charging, and creating MagSafe – – and the associated accessory ecosystem – – The company positions it as the next big innovation by default. It may seem obvious that portable phones are our goal, but is Apple’s vision of a portable future the one we want?
The argument for portable telephones
I’m going to play the devil’s lawyer here and say that Apple is looking to the future again. Portless phones are inevitable.
When Apple dropped the headphone jack with the iPhone 7, it set the technical media ablaze with comments on how it was anti-consumer action. Android makers soon followed suit, and today a headphone jack is a bonus feature, not an essential one.
An inevitable side effect of this move was the commercialization of wireless audio products. Nowadays, you can get excellent wireless earbuds for less than $ 50, although Apple would prefer you to go for the AirPods or AirPods Pro.
I can also see this when charging MagSafe. Wireless charging has long been the mainstay of premium hardware, even if the cost of installing it isn’t essential. If the industry is encouraged to make wireless charging more common, it inevitably has a trickle-down effect. It’s telling that Apple’s own budget phone – the iPhone SE – has support for wireless charging, even though the price is under $ 400. And once fast wireless charging is frequent enough, the accessory ecosystem will be rampant too.
MagSafe in particular is an incredibly smart game from Apple. It’s not just a charger, it’s a system that allows for fun experiments like wallets or accessories like clip-on LED lights, phone stands, charms and more. More than just another wireless charging system, Apple is positioning the standard for wider consumer adoption.
In addition, the fact that the charging puck is magnetically attached to the phone eliminates a major pain point. Wireless charging involves laying out your phone, and often enough aligning the phone’s built-in charging coils with the charging mat can be more of a hassle than it should be. Heck, Xiaomi went ahead and constructed a charging mat with physically moving coils.
It’s another port transition in a long line of transitions.
In typical Apple fashion, MagSafe offers an elegant, low-tech solution to circumvent this limitation.
Nobody wants to be forced to buy a wireless charger. Options are great to have, and if it’s not included, a portless phone will force users to spend an extra amount on a charger that they wouldn’t otherwise need. All valid items except – – We have been here before.
Port transitions are not new. We’ve seen the move from 30-pin to Lightning, micro-USB to USB-C, and while the first few years are difficult, it doesn’t take long for the new standard to become established. Moving to MagSafe is just another such transition.
The fact that MagSafe is backward compatible with Qi is an added incentive. This is because users of older iPhones also benefit from the nifty charging puck and can seamlessly switch to the new system when upgrading to a newer phone.
Continue reading: The best phones with wireless charging capabilities
Then there is the whole question of why you still need a physical port at all. Sure, charging is only one aspect. However, with deeper integration of cloud services and media streaming services, things like backing up pictures to a computer or transferring music to a phone are not nearly as extensive as they used to be.
The one-time inconvenience of moving into a wireless future also opens up hardware possibilities. For example, there is a limit to how big a battery can be in a phone. Removing the charging connector creates space for a larger battery that simply doesn’t need to be charged as much. Or how about larger camera lenses as a further use case?
The argument against a MagSafe future
After all of this, the obvious question arises: why?
We have a perfectly working solution in the form of USB-C, which is now widely supported by phones, tablets, laptops and more. Ironically, it’s not just Android phones. Even Apple has switched the entire Macbook and iPad range to the port. The standard enables a single cable solution for all your devices and can scale up to 100W together with USB-PD.
While I can stand behind a potential MagSafe wireless charging mat for trickle charging a laptop, it’s nowhere near fast enough to make sense.
MagSafe currently supplies 15W for the latest iPhones. Apple has been ridiculously slow in introducing faster charging speeds and, most importantly, shipping suitable charging bricks. While brands like Xiaomi are delivering 50W wireless charging and Apple promises a charging speed of 80 W and is only now recovering from the failed experiment with AirPower.
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Unless the company manages to drastically improve charging speeds and make significant changes to Macs and iPads, MagSafe simply won’t be the only charging solution that brings all Apple devices together.
In this case, a MagSafe portable iPhone simply becomes just another device that requires a proprietary charger instead of being seamlessly integrated with Apple’s portfolio. Additionally, it’s also about how data transfers become so cumbersome that you’re essentially forced to spend on iCloud storage.
Just because a portable phone is possible doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the future.
For all of Apple’s green arguments, switching to MagSafe is an eco-nightmare waiting for you too. At the moment it’s an optional feature. However, a portable phone would require the purchase of not just one, but possibly several new chargers. For every $ 40 puck, this is a significant expense and a waste of packaging resources. Not to mention the now redundant lightning cables and chargers.
In the meantime, OnePlus and Xiaomi are bundling 65W chargers that don’t just charge their Phones can also be used as a laptop charger in an emergency.
Additionally, we’ve seen OnePlus and Xiaomi promote their own take on fast wireless charging. The lack of cross-compatibility is supposed to ensure stickiness within the ecosystem.
However, that scale multiplies when you factor in Apple’s reach. In a world where standardization and interoperability are becoming tentpole functions, another proprietary technology is just the opposite of what we need. Think Lightning on current iPhones. Even if you’re completely in the Apple ecosystem, you’ll need to have another cable handy.
Apple ships nearly 200 million premium smartphones each year, which is a significant number in every way. While the company is well positioned to use MagSafe as the standard charging solution using only the scales, ecosystem attachment, and premium positioning, it will once again create a standard that won’t work with any other phone or Apple product .
Would you be okay with a completely portable phone?
I’m not a tech idiot. The idea of a portable phone, iPhone or not, appeals to me from a technological point of view. The fact that technology has advanced so far that this is now a reality is absolutely incredible. Just because something is possible doesn’t mean it has to be done. A portless iPhone and the numerous clones it will produce are sure to change the course of the industry, but I’m not convinced the benefits – let alone Apple’s bespoke implementation with MagSafe – the lack of flexibility, environmental impact, and associated costs are worth.
Is a portable phone something that you get excited about? Would you be willing to give up the ubiquity of charging and data transmission cables in order to live in a future where everything happens over the air? Let us know.