Apple’s charging ecosystem is a mess

Apple, a company famous for design and engineering, sometimes feels like it’s lost its ground.

Take freight, for example.

Apple’s charging ecosystem is a mess.

Take my setup.

Currently, my setup requires Lightning cables, USB-C cables, a specific Apple Watch charger, and a MagSafe cable. Oh, and there is an option for some of my devices to charge wirelessly, but not others.

These cables connect to a variety of different chargers.

As much as I love the Lightning cable and the new MagSafe cable, I’d much rather have Apple standardize one cable – the USB-C cable.

It’s cheap.

It is everywhere.

It is strong and durable.

It just works.

Sure, I love the 140 watts of power Apple can push down a MagSafe cable to the 16-inch MacBook Pro, but I’m also surprised how often I find myself using slower USB-C charging just because I don’t need to have that specific MagSafe cable.

ALSO: Fully test the USB-C charger with a MakerHawk Type-C meter

Apple’s charging clutter is further complicated by the fact that Apple wants you to have one charger for each device. There are rumors of a dual USB-C charger in action, and this should help make charging simpler.

Sure, there are plenty of third-party chargers with two or more USB-C ports, but it’s strange that a company like Apple, with its purported focus on design and engineering, hasn’t bothered to build one yet.

In the world of Apple, you either charge each of your devices one by one, or you have multiple chargers and cables everywhere on the go at once.

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There are many options for packing your phone, headphones, and watches without plugging a cable into the phone equipment.

The reason Apple is bad at charging properly — and awfully coming out with a mouse with the charging port on the bottom — is because Apple doesn’t really like the cables and ports. Apple rarely features a charging cable in any of its sales or promotional materials.

It’s as if Apple devices work by magic. Or at least that’s the impression Apple wants to give.

While I’d be happy to standardize Apple on a USB-C cable for charging and power, the most likely approach is that Apple will work wirelessly on things like iPhones, AirPods – and maybe at some point, iPad – and MagSafe on laptops.

Also: MacBook not charging? Here’s what to check

Apple’s ultimate goal is to get rid of charging ports and buttons. These features are subject to damage and cost money to obtain source and fit.

This is good for Apple but not so good for end users who will need wireless chargers and chargers everywhere they go.

I can see this particularly annoying when traveling.

And Apple didn’t make wireless charging easy, either. For example, the Apple Watch uses wireless charging, but it’s not compatible with Apple MagSafe wireless chargers (yes, isn’t it also confusing that Apple reuses the MagSafe name for wired and wireless charging?) and won’t work with any other Qi wireless chargers.

It’s as if Apple has intentionally made wired and wireless charging as complicated and confusing as possible. Part of this is certainly due to Apple having a vast ecosystem of products, but it’s also hard to overlook the fact that Apple also makes a lot of money licensing things like the Lightning Connector to third parties.

So why did Apple adopt USB-C on some devices — like the iPad line — if Lightning was a profitable cow?

hard to answer. I think because Apple is positioning the iPad as a laptop replacement, USB-C is ubiquitous on laptops, and the iPad needed that feature to compete (and adding it with a dongle didn’t cut it).

also: How to use the iPad Pro to power your home office

It will be interesting where Apple goes in shipping over the next few years. I suspect we’re a few years away from a portless iPhone, but once that happens we’ll see the Lightning port fade from everything over the course of the update cycle.

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