I remember when Apple announced that it was bringing MagSafe charging to the iPhone. The company made some bold predictions, almost positioning MagSafe as the future of wireless charging and the dawn of a new age of charging accessories using the technology.
While MagSafe is great, and I really appreciate all of the MagSafe chargers around my house and the FineWoven MagSafe Case and FineWoven MagSafe Wallet on the back of my iPhone 15 Pro, there is a premium in the price we’ve all had to pay for the privilege of using Apple’s charging and magnetic connector technology.
One of the biggest advantages that MagSafe has had over Qi wireless charging (the more popular standard) is that it was the only way to charge a compatible iPhone at 15 watts. Qi wireless chargers have unfortunately been stuck at 7.5 watts of charging speed for years now. Thankfully, that is finally about to change, and that change will result in some savings for consumers as well.
This week, Apple released the release candidate version of iOS 17.2 and, within it, rolled out support for Qi2 wireless chargers. As reported by The Verge, Anker, one of the most popular charging accessory makers for the iPhone, announced that their upcoming Qi2 wireless chargers will be able to charge compatible iPhones at 15 watts — just like MagSafe.
Anker spokesperson Mary Woodbury confirmed in an email to The Verge that, unlike older Qi products that were limited to half-speed 7.5W charging with iPhones, the new MagGo products can support 15W charging, the same maximum rate you get with Apple’s MagSafe-branded gear. There’s also no word about support for the iPhone 12 series (or the iPhone 13 Mini, which maxes out at 12W even when paired with MagSafe chargers), which should have compatible hardware but may require their own software updates.
While we don’t know the price or the release date of Anker’s upcoming Qi2 wireless chargers (or any other company’s for that matter), they all should hopefully result in some savings over the official MagSafe products that have gone through Apple’s rigorous and expensive Mi-Fi certification process.
For example, Nomad, another popular accessory maker, currently offers its Stand One charging stand for the iPhone in two configurations — one with MagSafe, and one with Qi wireless charging. The Qi version of the charger costs $80, and the MagSafe version costs $110 — an almost 40% increase just for the privilege of MagSafe. Of course, the price of that Qi version could increase once it is updated to Qi2, but I doubt it will still be as expensive as MagSafe.
So, Apple may have been right that MagSafe would usher in a new area of wireless charging. It might just end up that MagSafe gets priced out of that future if consumers opt for the cheaper but just as capable option that Qi2 seems to promise. We’ll see once these products start hitting store shelves over the course of the next year.
This isn’t even the first time this week that third-party companies may be beating Apple at its own game in the accessory world. Twelve South, another popular accessory maker, just announced an all-in-one portable charger called the Butterfly that has me considering that rather than waiting for the resurrection of the MagSafe Duo Charger.