Wow, Apple's unreleased iPhone charger is pretty weird

We're big fans of Apple here at Creative Bloq, so it's fascinating to see leaks of prototypes or rumours of new products from the Cupertino-based tech giant. But here's what seems to be an Apple device that made it all the way to the testing stage before being mysteriously (or perhaps not so mysteriously) abandoned.

Images have appeared online appearing to show a MagSafe Apple Magic Charger that never made it into production, and we can see why that might be. If you're looking for bargains on Apple products that saw the light of day, make sure you follow our guide to all the best Apple Black Friday 2022 deals. We'll be updating the page throughout the sale as deals go live). 

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The 'Apple Magic Charger' as it's identified when plugged into a Mac first turned up online on Twitter, in images shared by Apple collector TheBlueMister (opens in new tab). His Twitter account has since been suspended, but it seems that other collectors in Asia have since managed to get hands on design validation test (DVT) versions of the device too, including Twitter user, DuanRui (opens in new tab), who has shared more photos of the unreleased accessory (see above).

Looking a bit like an iPhone Lightning Dock, the Apple Magic Charger is a metal stand with an integrated MagSafe puck housed in a circular cutout in an anodized aluminium rounded square. Like the mechanism in the Apple Watch charger on the MagSafe Duo, the puck can be used flat or pushed to stand up vertically to hold an iPhone. Meanwhile, a white rubberised base is presumably intended to help keep the device from moving around on a surface, and there's a built-in USB-C charging cable.

So is the product something that Apple's still planning to release? It seems not, at least not in this form. From the conversation on DuanRui's tweet it seems the firmware doesn't work and that nobody's actually been able to use the device. According to MacRumors (opens in new tab), TheBlueMister disassembled the charger and tried to restore it to working order, sharing his findings on Twitter, but his tweets are no longer available

Beside that, the device seems to have a pretty significant limitation in that doesn't allow iPhone to be held in portrait orientation on the charger. That makes it only useful for watching media in a landscape orientation. While it could still charge an iPhone when laying flat – an AirPods in a MagSafe charging case – it seems far from 'magic'. There's also that fixed USB-C cable, which looks like it might not last very long.

Apple Magic Mouse 2

Apple's Magic Mouse 2 (Image credit: Apple)

It makes sense for Apple to be experimenting with other MagSafe charging optoins for the iPhone beyond the current options of the MagSafe puck, MagSafe Duo and the MagSafe Battery Pack. But it seems that in this case it decided the design wasn't up to the 'magic' name (and yet incredibly, it still makes the frustrating Apple Magic Mouse (pictured above) with a charging port on the bottom of the device). If you're looking for practical power solutions, see our pick of the best power banks.

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Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.