Since the earliest days of the iPhone, Apple has bundled every model with a small five-watt USB wall charger. A new report says that will change this year, as Apple is said to be preparing a much higher-speed USB-C charger to bundle with iPhones — an appealing claim, but one worth taking with a grain of salt.
The new charger’s specifications sound great. Citing production line sources, ChargerLab says that the charger will deliver 18 watts of power through a USB-C port, connecting to iPhones using Apple’s existing Lightning to USB-C cable. This new charger and cable would both be included in the iPhone’s box, enabling charging through either wall outlets or USB-C-equipped computers. With 18 watts, the charger would have more than enough power to refuel any iPhone or iPad at full speed.
In recent years, Apple has been criticized for bundling both iPhones and certain iPads with power-constrained chargers. While iPhones have grown and added higher-speed charging capabilities, their bundled chargers have been stuck at five-watt output, generally requiring hours of refueling time. Similarly, early iPad minis were shipped with iPhone-style five-watt adapters despite supporting 10- or 12-watt charging. Current iPhones and iPads enjoy noticeable recharging speed improvements when connected to iPad chargers and 29-watt MacBook adapters.
Renders produced by ChargerLab show the supposed USB-C adapter possessing an extruded pill shape similar to certain prior iPad and iPhone accessories, but different from the rounded square shapes currently used by Apple’s wall chargers. As the site’s sources focused on the European version of the charger, it also includes a hexagonal portion with circular pins that would be absent from North American and Japanese versions of the accessory, in favor of flat blades.
There’s only one reason ChargerLab’s claim isn’t instantly believable: Apple’s track record. Though the site’s report appears to corroborate an early May post on China’s Weibo, similar claims of new bundled iPhone chargers have previously surfaced without coming true. Instead, Apple has developed fast chargers and USB-C cables to sell separately at higher prices, leaving many customers upset. Hopefully the company will take the hint this year from the mounting complaints, but its actual bundling plans won’t be a lock until the new iPhones — and hopefully new chargers — hit stores later this year.