The iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and redesigned iPhone X have arrived. They bring a host of new features and increased price tags (some more than others), but on closer inspection it appears Apple’s most fundamental upgrade will not work as expected…
‘Great Secret Features’ and ‘Nasty Surprises’ are my regular columns investigating operating system updates for the best features / biggest problems hidden behind the headlines.
The iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus finally delivered fast charging to the iPhone range years after most of Apple’s rivals. It was essential. Apple makes solid claims about performance too saying it will provide a 50% charge in just 30 minutes.
But there’s a problem: this won’t happen out the box.
Yes, despite Apple pricing its new iPhones as high as $1,149, not a single one of the new iPhones will come with a fast charger as standard. This is because Apple will continue to bundle the Lightning to USB-A charger regardless of model or storage capacity and fast charging will require a more powerful Lightning to USB-C charger.
Needless to say, that don’t come cheap.
Apple currently sells three different Lighting to USB Type-C chargers, the 29W A1540, 61W A1718 and 87W A1719 and they retail for $49, $69 and $79 respectively. Furthermore the chargers all have mixed reviews on Apple’s site. Why? Because none of them come with a cable.
And you will need one because the bundled Lightning to USB-A cable won’t fit. Of course Apple sells individual Lighting to USB-C cables in 1 metre and 2 metre variants and they cost $25 and $35 respectively. So this means users will need to pay a minimum of $74 to add fast wired charging to a new iPhone – that’s a total outlay of $1,224 in the case of the 256GB iPhone X.
Expect wait! Because that’s probably not the end of your costs.
While Apple confirmed to me the requirements for iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus fast wired charging, it has yet to confirm whether the Qi-compatible wireless charging of the new models will be compliant with Qi’s existing 15W fast wireless charging standard. AppleInsider explains users may instead require ‘AirPower’ certified devices (Apple’s customisation of the Qi standard) for a premium wireless charging experience.
How much will an Apple AirPower matt cost? We don’t know. Apple showed matts off at the launch, but they won’t go on sale until 2018. Then again the optional AirPods’ wireless charging case expected to cost $70, bringing both fast wired and wireless charging to your Apple gadgets is likely to be far more expensive than most users imagined. And that’s before you think about having chargers in multiple locations.
Feel free to do the math based on the iPhone model which interests you:
iPhone X – 64GB ($999), 256GB ($1,149)
iPhone 8 – 64GB ($699), 256GB ($849)
iPhone 8 Plus – 64GB ($799), 256GB ($949)
Fast wired charger – 29W ($49), 61W ($69) 87W ($79)
Lighting to USB-C cable – 1m ($25), 2m ($35)
AirPower charging matt (Unknown)
AirPods wireless charging case ($70 expected)
Ultimately iPhone fans will pay what they wish to pay, no-one is being forced to part with their money. But with new models costing over $1,000 and many fast charging Android phones costing less than the cost of Apple’s optional fast charging accessories, it is understandable if some think Tim Cook has finally gone too far…
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