New MagSafe Charger Revealed in Apple FCC Filings (What’s Changed?)

Apple Watch iPhone 12 MagSafe Qi Charging Credit: ms_pics_and_more / Shutterstock
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Apple’s MagSafe technology was one of the biggest new features to arrive with last year’s iPhone 12 lineup. Not only did this empower a whole new ecosystem of accessories from wallets to chargers, but it also allowed for safe and efficient 15W wireless charging.

Naturally, the first charging accessory to come out alongside the iPhone 12 was Apple’s own MagSafe Charger, a simple round disc with a USB-C cable that snapped on magnetically to the back of your iPhone — with or without a case — and provided high-speed wireless charging.

While this original MagSafe charger didn’t lend itself to being used as a traditional desktop charger, many accessory makers quickly jumped on the idea of providing solutions that would help you anchor your MagSafe Charger to your desk.

Then, Apple came out with the MagSafe Duo — a travel charger that would also charge an Apple Watch, and then followed that up with the first MagSafe battery pack. However, it’s the original charger that remains the most popular MagSafe accessory, thanks to its simple yet elegant design, and now it looks like Apple is preparing an encore to go with this year’s “iPhone 13” lineup.

As technologist Dave Zatz noted on Twitter, Apple has submitted a new MagSafe Charger to the FCC, triggering a new wave of speculation as to what else the company may be up to this year.

To be clear, the FCC filings don’t give us a lot of insight into what’s changed, and as 9to5Mac notes, it’s entirely possible this may just be a minor refresh that offers nothing more than a few insignificant internal hardware changes.

What we do know from the filings, however, is that Apple has tested the new MagSafe Charger with a total of eight iPhone models — four “Legacy iPhones” which from the listed model numbers are clearly the iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max, along with four unidentified “New iPhone” units, which are obviously the new models that will be making their debut this month.

The New MagSafe Charger

The new MagSafe Charger is listed in the filings as model A2548, as opposed to the current MagSafe Charger, which bears a model designation of A2140. If you were hoping for faster charging speeds, however, the FCC paperwork still clearly shows 15W output, so don’t expect any changes there.

It’s clear that Apple isn’t about to make any major changes to how MagSafe works, as evidenced by the fact that it’s tested the new A2548 unit with the entire iPhone 12 lineup as well. This year’s iPhones could bring some additional benefits, such as stronger magnets, but it sounds like there won’t be any revolutionary improvements.

The FCC filings also show the new MagSafe Charger being tested with Apple’s AirPods, although this is something that’s already fully supported, since the MagSafe Charger works as a normal 7.5W Qi charger for non-MagSafe devices. Zatz has theorized that the inclusion of the AirPods in the FCC testing could mean that Apple plans to add a MagSafe charging case to its next-generation “AirPods 3” that are also expected to debut this month.

While that’s an interesting idea, we question whether it’s truly necessary. The magnetic connection to the iPhone allows for the proper coil alignment that’s needed for high-efficiency fast wireless charging, as well as the convenience of being able to use your iPhone while it’s charging. It’s less clear what the real benefit would be for AirPods, unless of course Apple plans to add 15W wireless charging, which feels a bit like overkill.

If Apple has added new MagSafe capabilities to the “iPhone 13” this year, we won’t have long to wait, as we’re expecting the new lineup to be unveiled on the 14th, during which it will almost certainly highlight anything new on stage. Even if this new MagSafe Charger is nothing more than a minor refresh, however, it’s a great indication that Apple is continuing to take its MagSafe technology seriously.

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