Last week we discussed the rumors that Apple might be releasing a GaN charger later this year, and this week a few more interesting rumors regarding Apple‘s plans for 2020 have been floating around. It‘s now widely expected that a new 2020-spec iPad Pro is on the horizon, and various tech sites have been suggesting that this time Apple may package a 30W charger in the box with the new device. Of course, at AUKEY we‘re always interested in anything to do with fast charging, and so we‘re keeping a close eye on this story.
This current iPad Pro (released in 2018) already offers fast USB Power Delivery (PD) charging via USB-C up to 35W, which is fairly impressive. However, only a small percentage of iPad users actually get to experience this level of fast charging. This is because the charger provided in the box only offers a maximum of 18W, and many iPad users are unaware that this is only half of what the device is capable of. Of course, this is still much better than the standard, non-Pro iPads, which only support a maximum of 12W standard charging via the outdated Lightning port.
There has been speculation that this time Apple will offer a 30W charger as standard with the updated Pro model. This would be a novel move, as for years Apple has been notorious for only providing cheap, low-powered chargers in the box. For example, iPhones have supported 18W fast charging since iPhone 8, but it wasn‘t until the iPhone 11 Pro that Apple actually packaged an 18W charger with the phone (the regular iPhone 11 still doesn‘t). Prior to that, Apple users (sometimes paying more than $1000 for the device) were still only getting a pathetic 5W charger packaged with their shiny new phone. However, recently Apple seems to be taking the “Pro” tag a bit more seriously, and there‘s a good chance that they will provide a charger that better matches the charging capabilities of the device.
Providing a 30W charger alongside the new 2020 iPad Pro would make sense for a couple of reasons. First of all, it‘s important that the new model is seen to be an upgrade on the previous one, otherwise customers won‘t feel the need to fork out for the new version. Providing faster charging is a no-nonsense upgrade that consumers can easily appreciate (30W is obviously a step up from 18W).
Secondly, Apple already has a 30W charger on the market, so there‘s no need to create an entirely new design (like they did with the 96W charger for the 16″ MacBook). This charger was primarily designed for the smallest MacBooks (12″ MacBook and the more recent MacBook Air models) and is a tried and tested design that Apple can easily produce more of. Sweetening the iPad Pro deal with a pre-existing product certainly does make financial sense.
However, even if they do decide to package this charger with the new iPad Pro, many customers are likely to be underwhelmed. The Apple 30W charger is a pretty chunky object, especially when compared to similar chargers from specialists like AUKEY. The GaN-equipped Minima 27W provides a similar power output while being less than half the size and well under half the weight (45g compared to 106g). There‘s also the dual-port Omnia Duo 65W, which manages to be smaller than Apple‘s 30W charger despite providing twice the ports and more than twice the power. This impressive feat is possible due to AUKEY‘s new OmniaChip, which allows for much improved power density compared to the standard silicon chip found in Apple‘s chargers. With its large footprint, the Apple charger doesn‘t really offer the level of portability that you‘d expect from a mobile charger, and more resembles a laptop charger in terms of bulk.
And if it turns out this charger is not packaged with the new iPad Pro, users can expect to have to fork out $49 for it (£49 in the UK). This compares poorly with AUKEY‘s new Swift 30W PD wall charger, which provides exactly the same amount of power despite being 23% smaller, 29% lighter and nearly half the price (just $20.99). The Swift 30W also supports Quick Charge 3.0, so is able to fast-charge a wide variety of Android phones. There‘s also the Focus Duo 30W to consider, which offers two ports and the Dynamic Detect power allocation system, and is currently available for just over $33. For Apple users there‘s definitely value in going with a charging specialist like AUKEY rather than relying on Apple for charging accessories.
Still, it‘s encouraging that Apple has stayed fully committed to the USB Power Delivery standard, rather than attempting to develop its own proprietary fast charging solution like many manufacturers do. It‘s also encouraging to see the general trend towards faster charging and the further blending of mobile chargers and laptop chargers.