Apple has revived its MagSafe charging brand with a twist: it’s no longer for its MacBook line but instead for the new iPhone 12 line. The announcement, made during the company’s annual iPhone reveal, confirmed rumors from last week that Apple would be bringing back its magnetic charging cable that it began phasing out of its laptop line in 2016 with the first USB-C MacBook.
MagSafe for laptops was mostly a safety feature, ensuring you couldn’t ruin your cable or charging port — or send your MacBook flying off a table — by tripping over the cord. That’s because the magnets allowed for easy disconnection when pulled with any considerable amount of force.
The new MagSafe brand is all about mobile, and it will come with a whole new set of smartphone-centric accessories. Those include a magnetic wallet that connects to the back of the new iPhones, a new leather cover that switches the phone into what appears to be a new clock mode for iOS with just the time showing, and a combo folding charger for both the iPhone and Apple Watch.
It’s important to note that unlike the prior version of MagSafe, which used magnets to grip cables to the ports on Apple laptops, this new version is tailored for a world where wireless charging is much more widely available.
In this case, MagSafe for iPhone will make it easier to connect your iPhone to supported wireless chargers (supported since the iPhone 8 / iPhone X), including those from third parties. “Customers can also expect innovative MagSafe accessories from third-party manufacturers,” reads Apple’s new press release regarding MagSafe, which should eliminate fears the company was going to lock this down. Belkin is already confirmed as one of the partners, as seen on slides during Apple’s presentation.
Apple will have chargers of its own, though, including a standalone MagSafe iPhone charger and the combo Apple Watch-iPhone charger, called the MagSafe Duo Charger. Both will support 15W of power.
It’s not yet clear what kinds of chargers or cables will be bundled with the four new iPhones, which include the standard iPhone 12, the new iPhone 12 Mini, the iPhone 12 Pro, and the 12 Pro Max. But Apple’s new online store now has a MagSafe section, confirming a price for the MagSafe iPhone charger at $39.99, as well as prices for MagSafe cases but no product listing yet for the Duo Charger.
According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the Duo Charger and the leather MagSafe-compatible sleeve will be coming at a later date.