MagSafe is Apple elegant solution to the charging problem. It an epitome of Apple design and attention to detail. Attacking even the smallest and banest solution to the everyday problem to make life and the experience of using their devices better, which in the end, give the best possible experience for their device.
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The concept behind MagSafe is to have a magnetic connector that surround a power delivery core. The idea is the connector snaps in perfectly and on point using magnets and the wire lines up to complete the circuit which will commence the charing phase of the device. The advantanges are obvious, the magnets makes connection extremely easy as the power connections snaps automatically without precise user input. Another feature of the MagSafe is that when a certain amount of force is applied on the cable, such as the cable has been accidently yanked, the connector will automatically disconnect instead of having the device flying around with yanked wire.
However, it is not without limitation, in view of safety, there is a limited amount of voltage and current that can be expose on the connector. Expand beyond a certain limits, an expose contacts can cause injury or even death. Fortunately, the power levels that we are talking about are very low. The first MacBook Pro can supply up to 20 V DC which translates around a 85 W charger.
The MagSafe makes it debut in January 2006 in the first generation MacBook Pro. It later move to other Apple lineup which includes the MacBook Air and the MacBook. When connected, there’s an LED charging indicator the glows orange when charging and green when the battery is fully charged. The design was later revised in 2012 to be slightly thinner to match the profile of the then-new thinner MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. The MagSafe was discontinued in 2019 when the last 2nd generation Macbook Air was discontinued. Since then, Apple opt for USB-C power delivery system which allows their laptop to be charged by any ports in the laptop.
The MagSafe makes a comeback through the new iPhone 12 which was revealed in October 2020. Building upon the Qi charging standard, Apple added a ring of magnet plus a single magnet at the bottom of the circle to give the magnetic induction pad the best possible alignment. The result is that by using the MagSafe, it can achieve a higher charging rate of 15W versus 7.5W via Qi induction. This compared to some offerings from competitors that provide fast induction charging of 15W but no magnetic alignment.
As for the future, there are a few rumors swirling around about MagSafe making a comeback on Apple laptops. It is highly anticipated that the new MacBook Pro will be featured in a March 2021 event complete with a new MagSafe connector. Whether this remains to be true or not, it remains to be seen.
The other rumor that the iPhone will go portless in their next iteration. Many of the iPhone tasks that before required a connection such as transferring large amount of files or Music can now be down wirelessly. The most prominent task that the lighting cable has over the MagSafe that it enables the iPhone to be charged from a 30W charger instead of the maximum 15W from MagSafe. With a patent that is found to use magnetic power connector instead of lighting, more signs are pointed out that the iPhone will go fully portless and features MagSafe connectors for charging.
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