Snow at home

An Apple MagSafe Battery Pack and a Southern Snowpocalypse

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Snow at home

What do those two things have to with each other? Very little, but bear with me for a moment.

Since Apple announced MagSafe magnetic wireless charging along with the iPhone 12, people have been wondering when we would start seeing MagSafe battery packs for iPhone. The second question is whether Apple would replace their Smart Battery Case with MagSafe battery pack of their own.

Word of such an accessory from Apple has been rumored recently and reliable word was dropped by Mark Gurman of Bloomberg yesterday.  Unfortunately, according to his report it sounds like Apple intended to release this accessory before now, but has run into software issues that make operation more inconsistent than they will tolerate.

While the MagSafe magnets are evidently doing a sufficient job of holding the pack in place, there are other issues slowing things down:

“In internal testing, the magnetic attachment system has proved strong enough for the charging unit to stay in place, but the accessory’s development has been slowed by software issues such as the iPhone erroneously indicating that the pack is overheating. Apple also has been working to mend issues related to a customer switching between using the device on an iPhone sometimes with and without a case.”

Considering the fate of Apple’s AirPower universal wireless charging mat, there is certainly reason for concern that this accessory will never see the light of day. That’s unfortunate, as power users like me who occasionally run short of power during the work day have been waiting for these battery packs to arrive. I used a Smart Battery Case for a few months last year despite the bulk because I can’t always slow down to plug in during the work day. The insurance of knowing my iPhone would never run low was worth it.

I’ve done ok most of this year without a Smart Battery Case, but I do occasionally run low before the end off the day, especially when I’m working on the road. Realistically, I don’t need a Smart Battery Case on my iPhone for everyday use. What I really need is a MagSafe charging pack that I can attach temporarily and use to top off my iPhone just when I need it.

So what does this have to do with the southern US being blanketed in the biggest snow we’ve had in twenty years and frozen solid for over a week? I’m getting there.

I knew that one MagSafe battery pack from a third party had already hit the market. It comes from a company called Charge Fast and it is currently the only product that they offer. That usually doesn’t inspire confidence. If you look around on Amazon, you can actually find the same battery pack offered under several licensed brand names. Somebody, somewhere is making a few buck off of this accessory.

While this pack looks a tad sketchy, I got tired of waiting on Apple when the rumors of their MagSafe accessory came back around and I took the plunge. I ordered a re-branded Charge Fast battery pack off of Amazon earlier this week, with an arrival date of Wednesday. I was really hoping to try it out this week and post a review of it this weekend.

Unfortunately, this is where the ice that hit at the end of last week and the 6-12″ of snow that’s been on the ground here since last weekend comes in. It’s been beautiful, but it has kept me and most of the people I live around and work with at home all week. I am grateful for a job that I can do a lot of remotely with a laptop, so I didn’t lose a week to this storm.

I’m also very grateful that we didn’t have it nearly as bad here in the Mid-South as people in parts of Texas did. It was just as cold and there was probably more snow on the ground here, but we never lost power at my house, and outages i the area that did happen were restored within a day. A lot people have frozen pipes, some of which burst, but that unfortunately happens when you get this far outside of the weather conditions that engineers design around and builders build around. We kept the water running all week at my house and managed to avoid that.

My job in the HVAC industry has taught me all about freeze protection. While most of my background is as a programmer, a big component of that programming for any water-based HVAC system is freeze protection for the equipment. Part of my work this week was keeping the Air Handling Units at the FedExForum running in conditions well outside their design parameters during several basketball games.

Several units around the arena tripped on their Low Temp Detectors, which cause the units to stop running, the Outside Air Dampers to close, and the heating and cooling valves to open to flow water through the coils to prevent freezing. However, there aren’t any busted coils or frozen pipes and the four games this week went off without a hitch. Temps are now above freezing to stay, so it looks like we made it through the deep freeze relatively unscathed.

As for the new MagSafe battery pack I am looking forward to trying out, it was originally slated to be here on Wednesday, but UPS says it finally reached Memphis. Now that things are finally thawing out around here, I am hoping that it shows up late today or Monday. I’ll be back with a review after I get a chance to try it out for a couple of days. And maybe someday Apple will get their MagSafe pack sorted out and we can all get a look at it in action.


James Rogers

I am a Christian husband and father of 3 living in the Southeastern US. I have worked as a programmer and project manager in the Commercial and Industrial Automation industry for over 19 years, so I am hands on with technology almost every day. However, my passion in technology is for mobile devices, specifically Apple's iOS and iPadOS hardware and software. My favorite is still the iPad.

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