The return of MagSafe was a big surprise with the iPhone 12 lineup, and with it came the promise of new, magnetic accessories. Aside from the ones introduced with the new iPhones last spring, Apple is reportedly working on a MagSafe battery pack.
Citing anonymous sources, Bloomberg reports that Apple has been working on the magnetic battery pack for at least a year. Obviously, like with other MagSafe accessories, it would attach to the back of newer iPhones. Prototypes of the device purportedly feature a white rubber exterior. However, unlike previous iPhone battery accessories, this particular pack wouldn’t be embedded in an entire phone case.
A MagSafe battery pack makes a lot of sense — and would likely sell like gangbusters. The fact that MacRumors found a reference to a battery pack in the iOS 14.5 lends credence that this is something Apple is actively working on. That said, according to Bloomberg, there have been some snags with development. Mainly, while internal testing shows that MagSafe is strong enough to hold the pack in place, the iPhone’s software often (mistakenly) thinks the pack is overheating. There also appear to be issues depending on whether a person uses the pack with or without a phone case.
Clearly, accessories make bank for Apple — thought it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how much, since Apple reports its revenue for accessories, home products, and wearables as one category. However, the category brought home a record $US13 ($17) billion for the company last quarter, with CEO Tim Cook saying in the earnings call that all three subcategories in this group hit record highs.
That all sounds hunky-dory, but the Bloomberg report also had some interesting tidbits which hint that Apple might be a tad hesitant where batteries and charging are concerned. Apparently, the company is a bit scarred by the whole AirPower debacle, in which the company teased a wireless charging mat and then ultimately failed to deliver. Apple also reportedly scrapped a feature in 2019 that would’ve allowed you to charge your AirPods on the back of an iPhone. (A feature that’s been available for years on Samsung, Huawei, and other Android phones.)
Given all that, and the purported development challenges, it’s possible that a MagSafe battery pack might never actually make it to market. But even if it turns out to be vaporware, it doesn’t look like MagSafe is going away any time soon. According to another recent Apple rumour, MagSafe might also be making a comeback to two forthcoming MacBooks.
But while we wait — possibly forever — for a battery pack to appear, any takers for how much this thing will cost? After all, the MagSafe Duo and the leather sleeve MagSafe accessory are both an eye-watering $199. Frankly, I’d be surprised if a MagSafe battery pack went for less.