Apple has announced a significant change to its accessory ecosystem. The tech giant has informed accessory makers that it will now exclusively supply its fast-charging Apple Watch charger module, leaving the older, slower charger behind.
For consumers, this means that third-party Apple Watch chargers that support fast charging will soon start entering the market. Presently, only a handful of accessories on the market support Apple Watch’s fast charging.
Apple plans to discontinue its slow Apple Watch charger module by the end of this year
Under Apple’s MFi (Made for iPhone/iPad/Apple Watch) program, accessory producers were required to obtain official charging modules from Apple for their Apple Watch charging accessories. This stipulation is why all Apple Watch chargers sport the iconic white puck design that users have come to recognize.
According to reports from third-party accessory makers, Apple plans to discontinue the availability of the older charging modules later this year. Manufacturers must submit their plans for adopting the slower charging module by August 31, and orders for that module will cease on September 30.
This development holds significance on multiple fronts. Firstly, it will substantially increase the number of third-party Apple Watch accessories that can harness the device’s fast charging capabilities. All accessories created beyond these deadlines will come equipped with the new, faster-charging Apple Watch puck. This move also implies that Apple has effectively addressed the reported shortages of Apple Watch fast-charging pucks.
However, a potential drawback is the elevated cost associated with the fast-charging Apple Watch puck for MFi accessory manufacturers. The requirement to utilize fast-charging hardware may necessitate price adjustments for accessories.
Apple Watch variants compatible with fast charging include the Apple Watch Series 7, Apple Watch Series 8, and the Apple Watch Ultra. Apple asserts that fast charging can propel your Apple Watch battery from 0 to 80% in approximately 45 minutes.
Apple bundles the Apple Watch with a USB-C Magnetic Fast Charging Cable. It’s worth noting that this cable features aluminum instead of plastic around the magnetic charger. The cable measures 1 meter and is available for $29. Achieving fast charging capabilities with this cable involves using any power adapter that supports USB Power Delivery of 5W or higher.
Interestingly, Apple’s own MagSafe Duo accessory does not support Apple Watch fast charging. While the existence of an updated version remains uncertain, this serves as a reminder to approach MagSafe Duo purchases cautiously in 2023.