A year later, Apple’s MagSafe continues to underwhelm

Yesterday, one year ago, I wrote that MagSafe could be the best reason to buy an iPhone 12. It was something I believed. Apple seemed to have cracked the code to easily accessorize the iPhone, and even add modular capabilities. Apple showed off its new MagSafe wallets and wallets, which appeared to snap into place. It also demonstrated faster wireless charging. The future seemed bright.
If you were an early adopter, like me you may have been disappointed. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has pointed out that two of Apples original MagSafe accessories, which were overpriced, are now obsolete. We just discovered Friday that Apple's $129 MagSafe Dual Charger cannot fast-charge the Apple Watch Series 7. Apple has already replaced its $59 MagSafe leather wallet with a newer version that supports Find My, so your phone can recall where it was last removed.

Gurman may be undercounting though. MagSafe's new Leather Wallet does not support Apple's Clear Case for $49, so I hope you didnt purchase one. It blocks NFC tags MagSafe accessories such as the Wallet use passively to identify themselves to the phone.

While we are on the topic of cases, all official iPhone 12 cases (and most likely many third-party ones as well) are not compatible with the iPhone 13 line of products, due to the increased camera size. I used the iPhone 13 Mini upgrade offer to get a free iPhone 13 Mini, and now I have a useless Clear Case with MagSafe that I am not sure what I will do with.

These are not the only problems. iPhone 12 customers like me found out that Apple's new cases don't snap into place as they did in the Apple animations last year (see below and above). The rims still need to grip the edges of your phone, and require pressure to insert or remove.

Verge editors also complained that the MagSafe charging cable, which costs $39, doesn't have enough length to be used on the couch or in bed. However, Apple still sells the same 1-meter cable one year later. Now, my MagSafe pad sits unutilized on a shelf while I reluctantly plug in a Lightning Cable instead. Despite the fact that the MagSafe pad and the $129 MagSafe Duo don't come with charging bricks (even though they are compatible with previous Apple USB-C chargers (18W and 29W), it isn't fast enough to charge them at full speed. Apple sells them for $19 and $49, respectively.

Even though Apple took almost a year to create its MagSafe Battery Pack, our review was not impressed by its power. Although I returned it, I purchased one and returned it for the same reasons Dieter mentioned. The pack was always twisting in my hands, and I couldn't believe how weak the magnet was even when it was covered with Apples Clear Case. It made my iPhone 12 Mini unbearably warm without the case.

Each of these cases shows a lack in foresight about MagSafe. That's not unusual. Apple's strength is its ability to foresee the future and bring out new products and technologies when it is time. MagSafe's first year was a failure to create a wider ecosystem. This is what I see as MagSafe's greatest tragedy. We've waited for Apple to reveal MagSafe's true capabilities, but instead of allowing the rest of the world to get ahead with its MFi program or artificial charging restrictions built into iPhone, MagSafe has been preventing the rest of the globe from getting ahead.

MagSafe, which combines the Qi wireless charging standard and non-patentable magnetics should have been a lightning rod for customization and modularity. Apple has so far shielded itself and us from all the possibilities.