USB-C Charge Cable (2m, 2019)

Apple described this cable:

“This 2-meter charge cable — with USB-C connectors on both ends — is ideal for charging, syncing, and transferring data between USB-C devices. Pair the USB-C Charge Cable with a compatible USB-C power adapter to conveniently charge your devices from a wall outlet and take advantage of fast-charging capabilities. USB-C Power Adapters sold separately.”

Apple also offered a convenient list of USB-C power adapter pairings for Mac and iPad devices:

  • 12-inch MacBook with USB‑C port with the 30W USB‑C Power Adapter
  • 13-inch MacBook Air with Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports with the 30W USB-C Power Adapter
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports with the 61W USB-C Power Adapter
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports with the 87W USB-C Power Adapter
  • 16-inch MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports with the 96W USB-C Power Adapter
  • 11-inch iPad Pro (1st and 2nd generation) and 12.9-inch iPad Pro (3rd and 4th generation) with the 20W USB-C Power Adapter
  • iPad Air (4th generation) with the 20W USB-C Power Adapter

Source: Apple

MagSafe Charger (2020)

Apple’s MagSafe Charger was released in 2020 along with the iPhone 12 line of devices. All iPhone 12 models (iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max) had MagSafe charging capabilities and could use this MagSafe Charger. Upon release, only the iPhone 12 models benefitted from the “magnetic alignment experience.”

Apple’s website states:

“The MagSafe Charger makes wireless charging a snap. The perfectly aligned magnets attach to your iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro and provide faster wireless charging up to 15W.
The MagSafe Charger maintains compatibility with Qi charging, so it can be used to wirelessly charge your iPhone 8 or later, as well as AirPods models with a wireless charging case, as you would with any Qi-certified charger.
The magnetic alignment experience only applies to iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models.
Recommended: 20W USB-C Power Adapter (sold separately)”

In my opinion, this product—and the MagSafe 2020 concept—is riddled with ambiguities.

The the past, the “MagSafe” name was used by Apple to refer to a power plug on Apple laptops. This name made perfect sense in that it used a magnet (“Mag-”) to safely (“-Safe”) attach to the computer. If someone accidentally tripped over a MagSafe power cord, the cord would safely detach and save the computer from dropping to the floor and/or harming the port built into the computer—an overall excellent solution.

However, the MagSafe system used on the iPhone 12 is not the same. While the 2020 version of MagSafe uses a magnet (“Mag-”), it is in no way “-Safe.” Instead, the charger grips so tightly that an accidental trip over the charging cord will send the iPhone 12 to the floor. Further, the Apple Wallet, a leather wallet designed to hold 2–3 credit cards that uses the MagSafe magnets, has been shown by reviewers to easily detach when slipped into a pocket. Thus, MagSafe 2020 is decidedly UN-Safe!

In addition, although this product is named a MagSafe Charger, it does not charge on its own because it does not include a power adapter. A more accurate name for this product would be a “MagSafe Charging Cable” since that is all it is. A very similar product, the Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Cable, also does not ship with a power adapter; thus, it is appropriately named.

Other reviewers have criticized Apple for not including power adapters in the box along with products. Apple asserts that this decision makes the company more environmentally friendly. I am not criticizing Apple’s decisions or motives. I am, however, criticizing the name of this product on two accounts. First, it is inaccurate because it is not “-Safe,” either now or when compared to previous MagSafe products. And second, because the name of the product does not accomplish the implied purpose of the device by omitting a power adapter to make the product function.

Source: Apple

iPhone XR (packaging, 2018, 2020)

In 2020 Apple made a major change to its iPhone 12 packaging when they stopped including Lightning headphones and a wall power “brick” charger in the box at the time of an iPhone purchase. With these items removed, Apple was able to reduce the size of the iPhone box and reduce the extra packaging associated with the headphones and charger. It was announced that the iPhone 12 would ship only with the phone and a USB-C-to-Lightning charging cable.

Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives, announced at an October 2020 Apple event, “Customers already have over 700 million Lightning headphones, and many customers have moved to a wireless experience with AirPods, Beats, or other wireless headphones. And there are also over 2 billion Apple power adapters out in the world, and that’s not counting the billions of third-party adapters. So we are removing these items from the iPhone box.”

With the iPhone 12 announcement, I was not at all expecting this packaging change to also affect older, but still manufactured iPhone models. At the time of the iPhone 12 release, Apple was still offering the iPhone XR as a lower-end and less expensive iPhone option. Surprisingly, the iPhone XR packaging was also reduced in size and shipped without the headphones and charger. Also, the cable was switched to a USB-C-to-Lightning, replacing the former USB-to-Lightning option.

While the change may contribute to some environmental benefits, the situation was not universally accepted as positive. Some critics noted that, “The move saves the company money, but some of the environmental benefits could be offset by people buying earbuds and chargers separately” (The Verge). From a practical standpoint, some users—namely enterprise, government, and school districts like mine—had not switched to USB-C when this decision was made. As Apple indicated, it is likely that most users likely already have more than one charger and at least one set of Lightning headphones.

The photos here represent my school district’s iPhone XR upgrade affected mid-stream—where iPhone XR models purchased before October 2020 used “classic” packaging, and devices purchased in late-October/November 2020 unexpectedly used the new packaging without an announcement or warning.

Sources: AppleInsider, The Verge

iPhone Bluetooth Headset cable (A1221, 2007)

The iPhone Bluetooth Headset cable is a unique 30-pin USB charging cable with an additional, offset magnetic charging port to accommodate the iPhone Bluetooth Headset. This allowed iPhone Bluetooth Headset users to charge both the original iPhone and the iPhone Bluetooth Headset from the same cable at the same time.

Source: Apple

PowerBook Battery Recharger (for PowerBook 140–180, 1992)

Several PowerBook models from the early- to mid-1990s all shared a common swappable battery, models including PowerBook 140–180. This PowerBook Battery Recharger was designed to charge two swappable PowerBook batteries. At the time, Apple’s laptop designs did not encase the battery inside the laptop, and users were able to swap a low battery for a charged one on the fly.

Until I acquired this PowerBook Battery Recharger, I had never seen one. The color is greenish gray and contrasts slightly from the PowerBook laptops of the time, but matches the tint of an Apple case designed for the same batteries. I acquired the this charger and the case at the same time.