TechCrunch on Apple's MagSafe Duo Charger: 'expensive and underwhelming'

Apple Iphone 12 Mag Safe Duo Charger
Apple Iphone 12 Mag Safe Duo Charger (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple's MagSafe Duo Charger isn't shipping yet.
  • But the $129 wireless charger is in the hands of some reviewers.
  • TechCrunch's review is particularly scathing.

Apple's $129 MagSafe Duo Charger isn't ready for anyone to buy yet, but the company has already seeded some units with reviewers. But it might wish it hadn't in the case of TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino.

In an early review of the new charger, Panzer said pretty much what a lot of us had been worried about – this thing works, but it's expensive and there are other options around.

First, the good news. The Apple MagSafe Duo Charger works. Which is good.

Does it work? Yep, works exactly as advertised. Your iPhone will rest comfortably on the MagSafe side of the charger, aligning using the internal magnets. The Apple Watch side pops up and out to allow easy access for closed loop bands. The whole unit folds over to make it easier to travel with and will even fold over backwards if you don't need one side or the other. It works, for sure.

But, after all that, there's the price. And Apple's war on chargers. The $129 gets you a wireless charger, but then there's the extra $40 you need to hand over to get something to plug it into.

For context, you have to understand that this thing is $129 but feels like it should be $70. When you realize that it is a charger that doesn't come with a power adapter, I would not be shocked if you mentally downgraded it to $40. The charger does come with a Lighting to USB-C cable in the box. That cable assumes, which I don't think is at all universally true yet, that you have a USB-C power brick. But the Lightning port on the charger itself does ensure that you can use this with any existing Lightning charging cables.

And then, we have the real issue. Apple's MagSafe Duo Charger isn't AirPower. We knew that, of course. But following years of hoping AirPower would ship and then seeing something that's similar it's impossible not to be underwhelmed by what we got – a $129 charger that has none of the magic AirPower promised.

But I'm sorry to say that I find the whole thing a bit underwhelming after the hype of AirPower and its eventual demise. Apple may very well have had this thing planned the whole time that it was trying to make AirPower happen, but the arc of that story landing on this device is sad trombone indeed.

On another note, can you just imagine how much Apple would have needed to charge for AirPower if the MagSafe Duo Charger runs at $129?

Anyone who still fancies a MagSafe Duo Charger can't order one yet. But here's where you'll go to get one once you can. It's "coming soon," apparently.

They said the same thing about AirPower.

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.