Wait—Apple’s MagSafe Duo Charger Costs How Much?

Illustration for article titled Wait—Apple’s MagSafe Duo Charger Costs How Much?
Image: Andrew Liszewski/Gizmodo

Apple recently made the somewhat surprising announcement that MagSafe was making a comeback with the iPhone 12 lineup. And while the MagSafe Duo wasn’t quite AirPower, it was an accessory that would charge your iPhone 12 and Apple Watch at the same time. That’s an attractive proposition, as the magnets in MagSafe help keep your gadget in place—and therefore, actually charging—unlike some other wireless charging docks out there. That said, the accessory’s price and availability were a mystery until today, when Apple added it to its online store. For $130. You’ve got to be shitting me.


I know Apple charges a premium for its products. I know and hate that, and yet, many times I have paid the price for one of its gadgets. Sometimes it’s been worth it. I also absolutely know that I will never, ever, ever pay $130 for the MagSafe Duo charger.

First off, wireless chargers don’t have to be beautiful, but for $130 I would like something that isn’t a complete eyesore. The MagSafe Duo is ugly. I’m pretty sure it would make Sir Jony Ive break out in hives. Secondly, it only charges two devices. For that money, you could just opt for Mophie’s 3-in-1 charging pad, which retails for $140 but also lets you charge your AirPods (and is frequently on sale for much less). Thirdly, for some people, it won’t actually be $130. You have a million of Apple’s USB-A charging bricks? Sorry, that won’t work here, as the charging pad comes with a USB-C to Lightning cable. You need a USB-C brick. If you’ve got one, great! If you don’t, Apple would like another $20 of your money, for a total of $150. One hundred and fifty dollars! I spelled it out because buahahahaha!! This makes no sense!

Let’s consider: The regular MagSafe charger costs $40. Apple Watch chargers, either USB-A or USB-C, cost $30, though all Apple Watches come with a charger in the box. If you bought a brick for each, that’s $110 altogether, but you could theoretically pay as little as $70. The regular MagSafe charger doesn’t work with the Apple Watch, but let’s say you bought one regular MagSafe charger and the USB-C power adapter, and you already had an Apple Watch charging cable and brick. That’s $60. Buying one USB-C brick and the MagSafe Duo is $150, or $90 more. Sure, the MagSafe Duo is arguably more convenient in terms of portability, but I don’t know, for $90 I’m willing to put up with having two cables and those tiny power cubes in my purse.

That portability argument is a bit wonky to me, however, as it’s not like you can stick this the MagSafe Duo on the back of your iPhone 12 and use it at the same time like you can with the regular MagSafe charger. This is likely something that you’d carry from your home to your office. The office that you’re possibly not going to because of the pandemic. Also, maybe it’s just me, but I feel like charging cables are portable enough on their own.

I haven’t even gotten to factoring in the MagSafe cases, which retail for $50. That, plus the regular charger and brick are still $110. Again, if you’ve got an Apple Watch already you don’t have to buy another charger or brick. The watch comes with its own charger, and you likely have the compatible brick already. Even if you buy a hideous MagSafe case, the regular charger, and the brick, this is still less expensive than buying the MagSafe Duo. You would have to buy the MagSafe case, the regular MagSafe charger, an extra Apple Watch USB-C cable, and two USB-C bricks for the MagSafe Duo to be the cheaper option. And at that point, I don’t think you should be trusted with your own wallet.


I don’t even want to get into the leather sleeve with MagSafe, which Apple also announced pricing for today. That’s also $130, and of course, you’ll never accidentally bump this thing off when quickly putting it in your pocket, kissing your expensive ass sleeve and some valuable cards goodbye forever. My brain is already leaking out my ears from the MagSafe Duo. This discovery, combined with the fact that it feels like it’s still Tuesday, threatens to send me over the edge. In the interest of preserving my mental health, I’m choosing to conveniently forget these leather sleeves exist.

Consumer tech reporter by day, danger noodle by night. No, I'm not the K-Pop star.



Unpopular opinion:
Yes, this thing is horribly overpriced, but... I’ve ordered one, and I suspect plenty of others will as well. This is a niche product, and priced for that niche. It’s not for people who will keep this on their desk, nightstand, or other permanent location. It’s also not for people who will be commuting with it.

It’s meant for people like me who travel often and want extreme portability and convenience. I’ll bring with me the new $17 Anker 20-watt brick, and it becomes the easiest, lightest, smallest package for my phone and watch.

Sure, the Mophie 3-1 is less expensive, and I’ll likely buy one of those for my home, but it’s very much not meant for travel, so the comparison is flawed.

Again, the MagSafe Duo is overpriced, but I suspect that just means 3rd parties like Anker, Mophie and others have plenty of opportunity to offer something competitive. For what it’s worth, without the MagSafe component, 3rd parties have had this opportunity for a couple of years now and not a single one of them could make anything decent for this niche.

That’s why I don’t mind paying for something I want even though I know it means Apple is going to get an outrageous profit margin on it.