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The MagSafe could have been very different, according to this newly discovered 2010 prototype

A great idea from the first design.

The MagSafe could have been very different, according to this newly discovered 2010 prototype
David Bernal Raspall

David Bernal Raspall

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It is uncommon for us to see design iterations prior to the release of an Apple product. Internally, a lot of testing is done in Cupertino, but it usually doesn’t leak to the general public. In this case, it has. Images have emerged revealing the original version, or at least an earlier version, of Apple’s MagSafe charger.

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A unique insight into how the company started working on this accessory more than two and a half years before its launch. The photographs have been published by Kosutami, the Apple leaker and prototype collector, and they show us a prototype that has a production date of March 2017, a key period in the development of the cancelled AirPower.

A design from another decade for the same idea

This MagSafe model shows a rubber outer casing similar to the base of the HomePod, with rounded edges instead of the right angle we know today. The outer metal ring disappears and the front part has a smaller frame than the current version. Apparently, the distribution of the magnets is the opposite of what MagSafe uses today, as the other pole was placed on the product.

Regarding the size, we are facing practically the same diameter, but in terms of design, it is clear that we go back a decade to a time where Apple’s language was less industrial. Although the cable of this prototype is not present, it surely fits into the USB-A and the charging brick that we all knew from the iPhones of a few years ago.

From what we know, after the cancellation of AirPower in March 2019, Apple turned its attention to this MagSafe concept and restarted the project. Finally, it was launched with the design we know today alongside the iPhone 12 in October 2020 and it is still with us in the same form in the iPhone 15.

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Although the current design is significantly different from the prototype, the idea remains the same. A charging system that uses magnetism to align the coils. A very ingenious system that, as we can see, could have come with a different appearance. This type of discovery reminds us of the importance of design evolution in technology and how the decisions made greatly influence the product that reaches the general public, and if not, just ask the iPhone 16, whose prototypes contain these three unexpected changes.

David Bernal Raspall

David Bernal Raspall

Architect | Founder of hanaringo.com | Apple Technologies Trainer | Writer at Softonic and iDoo_tech, formerly at Applesfera

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