The fast inductive charging feature paves the way for the development of a new range of accessories that could prove to be much more relevant than 5G in the short term.
MagSafe, Apple’s revived magnetic attachment system for cases and accessories for the iPhone 12 is perhaps the new feature that will bring the most novelty in the immediate future. And this despite the focus on 5G during the keynote and the hype around the new cellular standard. It is almost a sacrilege to write this after all that has been said and written about the expected benefits of 5G. But in practice, initial 5G deployments won’t deliver significant speed gains, and if you’re already well covered in 4G + your first 5G experience may well leave you a little hungry for more.
Twice fast charge
MagSafe , on the other hand, is now offering tangible benefits. The technology offers a recharge twice as fast, 15W against 7.5 with conventional Qi induction chargers, which puts it at the same level of what has long been offered by Android smartphones. Remember, however, that this promise of fast charging, therefore 15W, will only be offered on the latest iPhone 12. If the iPhones of previous generations (from iPhone 8) are compatible with MagSafe, they will remain supplied with 7.5. w, as before.
A MagSafe ecosystem
MagSafe also opens up promising long-term prospects for accessory manufacturers. Apple and its power of strike (Strategy Analytics anticipates 180 million copies sold next year) represents a colossal potential market for all those who will want to offer solutions that go beyond wireless charging. We think of gamepads, camera handles, selfie sticks or even wireless external batteries that could change the way we interact with an iPhone
Phone accessories maker Belkin has already unveiled two MagSafe products: a charging station that can accommodate an iPhone 12 , an Apple Watch, and AirPods ; a more conventional car holder. According to Patently Apple , the apple company has filed a patent for a charger case with the possibility of recharging AirPods. A patent is not always synonymous with a commercialized product, but it does give an indication of the direction Apple could take.
A modular iPhone?
MagSafe is a bit of a spiritual successor to Google’s Project Ara , a modular phone that used magnets to attach its external components, much like building a Lego. The modular design has for a time been a potentially revolutionary innovation for smartphones. LG has tried it with the G5 as well as Motorola with the Moto Mods.
But the trend died out as quickly as it was born. Google put the Ara project to sleep, before quietly abandoning it . The G5 was such a fiasco that LG decided to release a much more conventional smartphone the following year.
As so often, Apple preferred to wait and let the competition wipe the plaster before arriving with its more successful solution. Where Motorola, LG, Google and others have failed to popularize the concept of modular accessories, Apple could achieve this with its know-how to legitimize technology trends.