Even if Apple’s own MagSafe accessories don’t show it, third-party manufacturers will step up to the plate
Even though I won’t be able to pre-order an iPhone until next month, I decided to go ahead and get a new MagSafe charger when they went on sale last Friday. I was already on the Apple Store app getting my iPad Air and figured, why wait?
Unfortunately, Apple’s MagSafe-compatible cases for the iPhone 12 Pro Max were not on sale yet, but at least buying early insured that I could try out Apple’s new magnetic charging puck on day one with my new phone when it shows up in a few weeks. The new MagSafe Charger arrived yesterday and it looks predictably unassuming, yet solid.
While I’m not overly excited with the prospect of a port-less iPhone, I think that is inevitable at this point. The positive is that it looks like Apple has at least given us a wireless charging standard that will be practical in everyday use with the phone in your hand. While the rumors of an iPhone with no ports have been around for several months now, it wasn’t until the more recent reports that MagSafe would take the place of the doomed AirPower that such a change to Apple’s golden goose seemed realistic.
However, while the charging tech looks quite solid, leave it to Apple to ship a lineup of fairly uninspiring cases that don’t take full advantage of this change. I saw a lot of interest around the tech community in Apple’s wallet attachment that could be used alone or added to a case. However, it seems that the early reviews of this accessory are pretty underwhelming. I’ve also seen several people calling out the white outline covering the magnet on the back of their MagSafe Clear Case.
I have to be honest. I think they could have done a little better hiding the magnet here.
Frankly, I’m not all that surprised. Other than the Smart Battery Case for the iPhone or the Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pros and new Air, I’ve never known Apple’s cases to be anything but bare minimum options designed for them to have something to carry in their stores. They are geared toward people who want to walk into a Apple Store and walk out with everything they need in hand and be done.
Sure, their leather cases are alright, but you can do sooooo much better for the same amount of money going to any number of third-party manufacturers. Other than the aforementioned items and a solid lineup of Watch bands, Apple has always been pretty mediocre when it comes to accessories. They just don’t get anywhere close to the same level of attention as Appls’e products when it comes to design and construction.
I’m sure many people will read some of the mediocre reviews of Apple’s first wave of MagSafe cases and promptly lose interest in what’s possible with this standard. However, I personally think that would be a mistake. It’s always been third-party manufacturers that dominate the Apple accessory market and that isn’t going to change with MagSafe. It’s just going to take a little time before you see them get up to speed and take full advantage of what it can offer. Between the delays caused by COVID-19 and the fact that only a few preferred vendors got early details of the MagSafe specs, it will be six months to a year before some companies get fully up to speed.
Apple’s new MagSafe charging puck looks perfectly adequate as a starting point, but that’s really all it is. The same goes for their coming MagSafe Duo dock for the iPhone and Apple Watch, which also isn’t ready for release yet. Just as you see with iPhone and iPad cases and Apple Watch Bands, it’s the wide variety of options that will come from others that will make or break Apple’s new charging standard. I’m really looking forward to seeing where they take it.