For years Apple products have given us some of the most beautifully designed gadgets on the market. The usability of its iPhone and iPad, its Macbooks and just about any other computing device with the little Apple symbol on it are second to none. Apple has led the way in mobile device ergonomics and it looks like the long standing debate over their marriage between hardware and operating system is about to be settled as Microsoft is beginning to go down this path as well. With all of this innovation and world class design, why is Apple seemingly unable to create an iPhone power cord that actually works like a reliable power cord should without promptly falling apart after purchase or always feeling like it connects to your computer like a cheap Asian knock off device?
Apple released a new design for its power adapter this year with the new version of the MacBook Air. Apple’s power adapter, smartly called the MagSafe, is now slimmer, cuter, and not compatible with old versions of the MagSafe power adapter. I guess Apple thinks that the new one is so great looking, why would anyone want to have to be burdened with that old beast of a power cord they had to put up with on the earlier MacBooks. Of course, this means that if you still want to use your old MagSafe cord, you are going to have to by a new adapter for the new laptops.
It must be primarily for the looks that Apple assumes we will rush out to purchase these adapters, because it is not due to its functionality. The T shaped design is a great design feature, and looks interesting and intelligent and creative – all the things that Apple and Apple users want to be associated with. But the problem is that it does not really work.
The idea for the MagSafe power adapter is great. It’s a great Apple styled power adapter that looks like it belongs to the upscale Apple line of products – not just another old power cord. And it is connected through a magnet in the end of the connector that connects to the power input on the side of the MacBook Air. This is a great design feature because it uses magnetism to hold the cord in instead of a gripping mechanism like other power cords. This allows the end of the cord to look sharp, minimalistic and geometrically pleasing. But the magnet just is not strong enough to hold it in place. It is constantly falling out.
As David Pogue from the New York Times states that the magnet is so week it “falls out when you brush it…if you tip the laptop slightly…if you look at it funny.”
The new T shaped design does not help this issue, but makes it worse. Because of its unnatural protrudance from the side of the laptop, unlike the older L shaped adapters that caused the cord to run parallel to the side of the laptop, the cord sticks straight out and does not allow it to be placed alongside your knee or too close to a wall. It has to be in a place that is exposed to possible passing traffic or moving limbs, and almost encourages someone to knock it out of place.
Beyond the poor design decisions of the new MagSafe connector, why does Apple have such a poor history with the functionality of their power cords? Some suggest it is designed obsolescence. Since 2007, users in the United States have paid more than four billion dollars in iPhone repairs alone. The answer may not be so conspiratorial, though. It may just be that Apple spends so much time making a cool looking design, they forget about some of the more practical engineering constraints.
About the guest author: Jason Phillips shared this post. He has been writing articles power cord reel across the web and is hoping to share his enthusiasm and knowledge on this subject. Apart from that, He is interested in cooking and cooks food for his family whenever free.
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