MagSafe Charger Prototype Reveals Abandoned 2010s Design

Images purporting to reveal the original version of Apple's MagSafe charger today surfaced online, providing a look at how the company conceived of the accessory over two and a half years before its release.

magsafe charger original prototype
The images, shared by the Apple leaker and prototype collector known as "Kosutami," claim to show the original version of the ‌MagSafe‌ charger that Apple considered launching. The prototype has a production date of March 2017, a key period in the development of Apple's AirPower wireless charging mat. This version of ‌MagSafe‌ was apparently developed directly alongside ‌AirPower‌.

The earlier version of ‌MagSafe‌ for iPhone features a rubberized outer shell that feels similar to the base of the HomePod, rounded edges, a different array of magnets with opposite magnetism, and a large Apple logo. It is apparently the same approximate size as the final version, but noticeably thinner. The design language distinctively harks back to an earlier period in Apple's history that more generously used white rubberized plastics and featured its logo more prominently.

Following the cancelation of AirPower in March 2019, Apple apparently revisited this earlier ‌MagSafe‌ concept and rebooted the project. It ultimately launched with the design we know today alongside the ‌iPhone‌ 12 in October 2020, seeming to taking direct inspiration from the Apple Watch's charger with a thicker silver aluminum outer shell, flat sides, and no Apple logo.

magsafecasedangleThe ultimately released version of ‌MagSafe‌ for ‌iPhone‌ (2020).

Kosutami previously shared images of various Apple charger prototypes, including a functional AirPower charging mat, different color options tested for the ‌MagSafe‌ charger, and an unreleased "Magic Charger" accessory.

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Top Rated Comments

Spaceboi Scaphandre Avatar
23 weeks ago

Literally cleaner, as the white rubbery one would have become dirty over time.
Not just dirtier but would slowly wear overtime due to friction and heat. We've seen the longterm damage Apple's old rubber accessories used to go through, especially the Mac's original magsafe. There's a reason for Magsafe 3 they went with woven cables instead of rubber.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
orbital~debris Avatar
23 weeks ago
I love the tactile feeling (even better if accompanied by the iOS chime) of the MagSafe charging disc when attaching to iPhone. It's also particularly nice to 'push' the disc off iPhone when a silicone MagSafe case is attached.

This kind of stuff that Apple do so well seems to be under appreciated.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bradman83 Avatar
23 weeks ago

Not just dirtier but would slowly wear overtime due to friction and heat. We've seen the longterm damage Apple's old rubber accessories used to go through, especially the Mac's original magsafe. There's a reason for Magsafe 3 they went with woven cables instead of rubber.
Apple switched to woven for all of their power adapter cables across the entire product line likely for this reason. Their old proprietary power adapters were notorious for failing. I think the I replaced the "UFO" power adapter on my old Pismo PowerBook G3 at least 3 times in the six years I had it. All of my MagSafe MacBooks had to have the power adapters replaced at least once, sometimes twice. To me the biggest win from Apple wasn't the return of MagSafe 3, it's the fact that the power cable between the brick and the laptop are now replaceable without discarding the whole charger.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Spaceboi Scaphandre Avatar
23 weeks ago
I am really glad they didn't go with that rubber design. Having the puck be flat metal makes a lot more sense and a lot cleaner.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CharlesShaw Avatar
23 weeks ago

I am really glad they didn't go with that rubber design. Having the puck be flat metal makes a lot more sense and a lot cleaner.
Literally cleaner, as the white rubbery one would have become dirty over time. [That said, I do like the ”vintage” feel of the prototype. I would be crazy about an iPhone mini in a version of the original iPhone’s body, with no MagSafe and no camera array.]
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
msackey Avatar
23 weeks ago

Apple switched to woven for all of their power adapter cables across the entire product line likely for this reason. Their old proprietary power adapters were notorious for failing. I think the I replaced the "UFO" power adapter on my old Pismo PowerBook G3 at least 3 times in the six years I had it. All of my MagSafe MacBooks had to have the power adapters replaced at least once, sometimes twice. To me the biggest win from Apple wasn't the return of MagSafe 3, it's the fact that the power cable between the brick and the laptop are now replaceable without discarding the whole charger.
That problem with the rubber sheathing, especially at the point when it entered the brick or similar object was so problematic. Why did it take Apple such a long time to switch out of that rubber sheathing? You see the issue also with Lightning cables at the Lightning end. Over time, it is possible for that rubber sheathing close to that tip to sort of bulge out, possible because of the rubber bending back and forth over time. Terrible.

And, we're not talking about cheap cables either! These cables, relative to other brands, are on the expensive range.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)