Images have emerged online of what collectors believe is an unreleased Apple product, the Apple Magic Charger. Those with access to the samples are doing their best to get the devices working, but questions remain about why the project was canceled before launch.
Somewhat reminiscent of the old (and now discontinued) magnetic charging dock or MagSafe Duo charger, the Magic Charger has a circular magnetic charging surface that can lie flat or lift up, exposing the iPhone’s screen while charging. However, as AppleInsider points out, the design means the iPhone can only be mounted in landscape orientation, while many dock charging setups allow the iPhone to be in portrait mode, perhaps a more natural position for displaying notifications.
Whether this limitation is the reason why Apple got cold feet about the project remains unclear. All we know is that the device was developed so that working prototypes were created and distributed for what is known as the DVT, or Design Validation Test, but between the DVT and the public announcement, someone decided to pull the plug. The Apple Magic Charger was never released and until now the general public had no idea it existed.
It is possible that a serious technical flaw was discovered during testing, something similar to the problems that are believed to have stopped the AirPower project. Apple was hurt by its experience with AirPower, which was publicly announced long before launch and was thus a visible failure; this may be why it was more careful developing the Magic Charger. (On the other hand, it might be better to consider AirPower the outlier, since most Apple products remain a secret until they launch.)
Assuming the device was functional (which we’d normally expect; after all, this isn’t nearly as ambitious a product as AirPower, which essentially represents the standard MagSafe charger in a simple pop-up frame), it’s hard to understand why it wouldn’t continue booting. It wouldn’t be expensive to produce, looks attractive enough and offers a small but worthwhile upgrade over the stock charging puck. Maybe Apple just isn’t very interested in expanding its range of MagSafe accessories; we certainly feel that the technology is underused.
Whatever the reason for its untimely demise, the Magic Charger is making waves online, with collectors of defunct and unreleased Apple products fascinated by the device. The famous Apple leaker DuanRui owns one copy. Another lucky owner is called a Twitter user The Blue Mister, who has gone so far as to perform a teardown; obtained with his power cable cut, their charger still does not work at the time of writing. We wish TheBlueMister the best of luck and hope to see the Magic Charger in action in the future, although we’re glad it’s not us to test.