Apple couldn't throw a Lightning cable in with its $99 battery pack?

Apple MagSafe Battery Pack
Apple MagSafe Battery Pack (Image credit: Apple)

Today saw Apple announce the MagSafe Battery Pack for iPhone 12 and we were all very excited about it. We'd been told by Bloomberg a while ago that this was coming, and here it is. But it leaves a sour taste in the mouth, and it isn't just that $99 asking price.

As much as that $99 price does sting a little, anyone who follows Apple with any kind of regularity would surely know that anything south of $99 was never going to happen. I wouldn't have been surprised if it was more around the $119, point, so we should probably all be thankful for small mercies. What's irritating me — it isn't even annoying, really — is the fact that the $99 magnetic battery doesn't come with a cable in the box.

Sure, I didn't expect Apple to ship this thing with a USB-C charger because you don't even get that with a $1500 iPhone. I can sort of buy Apple's environmental argument on that one, but you do get a Lightning cable in the box at least. Apple's admitting you need one of those. But not if you buy a MagSafe Battery Pack, apparently. You'll have to buy one for yourself — and a USB-C charging brick if you need one of those, too.

Now, I know what some of you will say — most people will just use their iPhone's cable to charge their battery pack. And you might well be right. But an extra Lightning cable never goes amiss and at $99 — when the competition often costs half that — would it really hurt Apple's bottom line if it threw a cable in the box? It'd mean users could charge the battery pack and their iPhone at the same time. Now isn't that a novel idea!

At this point, it almost feels punitive when Apple does things like this. How much can a Lightning cable really cost Apple, especially at the volume it buys them. I don't really care how much markup Apple has on the MagSafe Battery Pack itself — we expect to pay a premium for Apple stuff these days. But come on, Apple. Give us a cable, yeah?

On the plus side, this battery pack does potentially fix the main problem people have with the iPhone 12 mini — its abysmal battery life. Want to bag one for yourself? Check out these iPhone deals before placing an order.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.