Apple is reportedly considering making other MagSafe accessories beyond the chargers, wallets and cases, according to sources cited in a new Bloomberg report from Mark Gurman.
- The battery pack was supposed to release last year.
- Software issues have hindered the development process.
- The magnetic accessory could be ultimately scraped.
- An in-car MagSafe attachment is also being discussed.
Software issues are slowing development
Apple’s current Smart Battery Case for iPhone is available for older models, but not the latest iPhone 12 devices. According to Gurman, Apple will engineer a brand new magnetic battery pack for the iPhone 12 rather than create an iPhone 12 version of the Smart Battery Case. It would use the circular array of MagSafe magnets on the back of the phone to attach securely.
In internal testing, the magnetic attachment system has proved strong enough for the charging unit to stay in place, but the accessory’s development has been slowed by software issues such as the iPhone erroneously indicating that the pack is overheating.
Apple also has been working to mend issues related to a customer switching between using the device on an iPhone sometimes with and without a case.
Hopefully, this one won’t be scraped like the company’s ill-fated AirPower multi-device charger. One of the prototypes apparently rocks a white rubber exterior similar to the Smart Battery Case. However, the rumored accessory would not double as a full-on protective case.
Clues in the latest iOS 14.5 beta
Evidence of this potential MagSafe accessory was unearthed recently by developer Steve Moser from the first iOS 14.5 beta, which referenced an unreleased battery pack. “To improve charging efficiency and maximize available battery life, the battery pack will keep your phone charged at around 90%,” reads the hidden message in the beta.
New ‘Mobile Charge Mode’ in iOS 14.5 beta 2 for an as-yet-unannounced ‘Battery Pack’ and not a case presumedly because it uses MagSafe for charging iPhone 12 devices. Also interestingly it keeps your iPhone charged to 90% for ‘battery efficiency’. https://t.co/CPZXkBXkEc pic.twitter.com/jHHrrz4Qir
— Steve Moser (@SteveMoser) February 16, 2021
The text has been removed from the second beta of iOS 14.5, which was released earlier this week, further suggesting that Apple has been developing this product for at least a year.
Other MagSafe accessories in the works?
Apple could potentially release additional accessories that use MagSafe technology down the road. One such product being discussed internally is an in-car attachment, according to the report. However, that accessory is apparently yet to make its way into formal development.
→ Featured MagSafe accessories you can buy now
The article goes on to note that Apple is unlikely to equip its devices with bidirectional charging that would permit not only, say, your AirPods wireless charging case to charge its internal battery but to also take energy from your iPhone’s battery.
Apple has also internally discussed a goal of letting many of its mobile devices like Apple Watches, AirPods, and iPhones charge each other, but that functionality is unlikely in the near future. For the 2019 iPhones, Apple planned, but canceled, a feature that would let users charge AirPods on the back of the phone.
The Cupertino giant is thought to revive MagSafe charging on Mac notebooks later this year.