At this morning’s virtual event Apple announced the return of one of its long-lost technologies: MagSafe. Instead of the old magnetic laptop charging method, the new MagSafe is a magnetic ring built into Apple’s iPhone 12 lineup. This ring magnetically attaches a variety of brand new accessories from both Apple and third-parties.
Apple’s MagSafe accessory lineup starts with the MagSafe charger, a 15-watt Qi-compatible1 charging puck that magnetically attaches to the back of an iPhone 12 (all iPhone 12 models from the Mini to the Pro Max include MagSafe). There are also a series of new MagSafe cases which magnetically attach in the same way. These cases come in a variety of silicone colors, or in a clear design with a MagSafe circle. The magnetic connection allows the cases to be easily put on and pulled off, while staying attached during use. The case edges no longer have to bend around the front of the iPhone’s display because MagSafe is holding them in place.
MagSafe chargers of course work straight through the MagSafe cases, as do the new line of leather MagSafe wallets. These are thin, minimal leather card holders which clip on via MagSafe and can be used with or without a MagSafe case on the phone. It doesn’t appear that MagSafe charging will work through the MagSafe wallet attachment, but since it’s all just magnets it shouldn’t be too much trouble to pull the wallet off before charging an iPhone 12. The MagSafe wallet is shielded to protect credit cards from being demagnetized.
Apple mentioned during the event that Belkin is also working on new MagSafe accessories, including a car mount and a multi-charger dock. The release date for these accessories was not revealed.
MagSafe Duo Charger and Leather Sleeve
It’s not AirPower, but Apple did announce a multi-charger dock of its own. The new MagSafe Duo Charger can charge both an iPhone 12 via MagSafe as well as an Apple Watch. It features a very nice looking foldable design to make it great for tucking away in a travel bag or otherwise carrying it around.
A MagSafe leather sleeve was shown off as well, which fully covers an iPhone 12 but features a cut out where the digital time from the phone’s display can peek through. The sleeve also includes a wrist strap at the bottom.
Both the Duo Charger and the leather sleeve are going to be available at an undefined later date, so you won’t be able to pick these accessories up right away.
Apple is looking to create a whole new accessory ecosystem with MagSafe in the iPhone 12 line. Their initial first-party accessory offerings already look great, and it will be fun to see what more ideas third-party companies can come up with.
It’s a bit disappointing that Apple is still pre-announcing wireless chargers, but the MagSafe Duo Charger is a lot less ambitious than AirPower was so I don’t expect it to meet the same ignominious end. I’m not sure why Apple hasn’t included leather cases in its initial lineup, but perhaps we’ll see those when the leather sleeve eventually ships.
Starting this Friday, you’ll be able to pick up a MagSafe silicone case for $49 (regardless of size) in Plum, Deep Navy, Kumquat, Cyprus Green, Pink Citrus, White, Black, or (Product) RED. Clear cases will also go for $49 for any size of iPhone. Leather MagSafe wallets cost $59 and come in Baltic Blue, California Poppy (kind of orange-y), Saddle Brown, or Black. Finally, MagSafe chargers cost $39. The chargers won’t be coming in the iPhone 12 box, so you’ll need to pick one up separately if you want it.
- If you connect a MagSafe charger to a standard Qi device it will slow-charge at only 7.5W. Apple’s new iPhone 12 models include a new shielding component which allow them to safely consume a full 15W charge wirelessly from the MagSafe charger. ↩︎