New iPhone 12 resurrects MagSafe wireless charging from the Apple graveyard

Apple announced a device capable of charging both an iPhone 12 and an Apple Watch concurrently for multidevice refreshes.

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Wireless charging is a convenient accessory for iPhone refreshes without the need to connect a phone via a traditional port. However, the wireless charging capacity is greatly diminished if a smartphone isn't properly positioned on the unit. To assist, Apple announced MagSafe wireless charging capabilities on its new iPhone 12 smartphone. With the move, Apple revives one of its recently retired recharging relics for a new era.

"MagSafe is not new. It was introduced many years ago with the MacBook products (and retired a few years ago) to make sure the charger cable hatches on correctly. Same concept here for the iPhone to make wireless charging less frustrating. The interesting part I see here is that Apple is providing this technology to enable third party accessories now," said Gartner Analyst Annette Zimmermann via email.

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On Tuesday, Apple revealed the MagSafe iPhone 12 feature during its October virtual event highlighted by a new lineup of 5G-enabled smartphones. Rather than relying on haphazard placement to pair a smartphone with a wireless charger, MagSafe instead leverages magnetism to ensure a proper connection.

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Image: Apple

The MagSafe system uses a layered set of components including two new sensors, a NFC coil and a magnetometer, that "senses magnetic field strength and can instantly react," according to Apple. The design is also compatible with existing wireless charging systems. Apple said that it had improved its "shielding design to safely provide up to 15 watts for faster charging."

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Apple also announced the MagSafe Duo Charger, a foldable solution for convenient stowing during transport. The MagSafe Duo Charger is compatible with Apple Watch for added multidevice functionality around the home and on the go. A single MagSafe Duo Charger can recharge both an iPhone 12 and an Apple Smart Watch concurrently.

Apple revealed a number of cases and accessories that are compatible with the iPhone 12 and the MagSafe feature. This includes silicon, clear, and leather cases as well as a slim wallet accessory that magnetically attaches to the back of compatible MagSafe cases. The wallet also connects along the back of the iPhone 12 sans case.

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The company anticipates a coming new ecosystem of compatible accessories. For example, Apple revealed that Belkin is developing other MagSafe charging accessories. These products include a car mount and a multicharger dock.

Also see

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Image: Apple