It’s no secret that every company in the smartphone industry uses ideas originally conceived by their rivals. We’ve seen countless examples of Apple taking inspiration from Android for recent iOS updates, just as Google has followed Apple’s lead on a few key concepts. Often these moves result in refined or evolved versions of the original implementation; other times it falls flat. Yet when comparing the Pixel 7 or Galaxy S22 to the iPhone, there’s one feature Apple’s competition seems to have overlooked altogether: MagSafe.
If you haven’t used a recent iPhone, the term MagSafe might remind you of Apple’s laptop chargers, not its smartphones. Introduced with the iPhone 12, this iteration of MagSafe is a line of magnetic accessories including wallets, PopSockets, mounts, car mounts and more. It also supports wireless charging, either via wired pucks or removable batteries. At its core, it’s yet another way for Apple – and third-party manufacturers – to sell optional accessories to iPhone users. That said, I think that’s a pretty pessimistic view of what is, in fact, a fantastic tool when used correctly.
Ever since I bought an iPhone 14 Pro Max last month – and got my first taste of MagSafe – I’ve fallen in love with what I think is the best version of wireless charging I’ve had. never used. At 15W, that’s about as fast as non-specialized wireless chargers. The wired puck lets you continue to use the phone while it’s plugged in, like a standard cable, but it also leaves the Lightning port open for accessories like a wired headset dongle. Meanwhile, the magnet is strong and secure, ensuring perfect alignment every time you apply it.
And that’s not to mention the optional accessories available here. Wallet cases aren’t my cup of tea, but I think it’s fantastic that anyone wanna to use it, it can be removed at will. If anything, it makes me more likely to go out and catch one.
My experience with MagSafe has been so positive, in fact, I’m surprised it hasn’t been ripped off by every Android manufacturer in the years since its debut. That’s not to say that no company ran with the general concept, of course. LG used a terrible pogo pin adapter on its Dual Screen accessories for some of its latest phones before exiting the market altogether. Realme’s MagDart puck has impressive speeds, surpassing Apple while offering a similar design, with companies like Oppo and Nubia following suit. And there was the Galaxy Z Fold 2 – although that was more of a coincidence than anything.
Third-party cases for Android phones, including Mophie, Peak, Moment, and others, have also brought the MagSafe experience to Galaxy and Pixel devices, either through proprietary means or simply by adding the magnets needed to make MagSafe work. After all, any Qi-enabled phone can charge from these accessories – it’s just a matter of keeping the puck in place.
Not everyone wants to turn to a case, of course. While I don’t expect the Samsungs or Googles of the world to add support for Apple’s own line of magnetic accessories, I’m surprised they haven’t attempted to implement their own variant of the concept. I don’t think MagSafe is the ultimate solution for magnetic accessories. In fact, I think it’s easy to imagine Android phones building an even better version of this tool than what iOS users have seen.
I cannot overstate the strength of these magnets.
In a world where both Samsung and Google are trying to grow their respective ecosystems, a world of removable accessories could make all the difference. A simple magnetic charging dock for the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro could make wireless power sharing a reality for both watches – something blocked by the curvature of its bands. A platform-independent version of Continuity Camera could add high-quality webcams to any laptop, regardless of operating system, with a simple magnetic mount. The possibilities are truly endless here, effectively turning our smartphones into modular pieces in a larger tech world.
Or, perhaps, a MagSafe-esque feature on the Galaxy S23 would lead to competing wallet accessories and PopSockets, as we saw with Apple’s version. Even though it’s the less exciting conclusion than my personal (albeit hazy) vision of the future, I still think it’s worth it.
I’m sure to some MagSafe is a dumb gadget that got ignored by Android makers for a reason. But I think it’s a useful tool, a smart evolution of wireless charging that really makes me want to use it. And if the concept were to be seriously adopted by Android companies – either as a shared standard or simply as a company-by-company feature – I think we could see it taken to the next level.
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