I have an admission: I am a bit of an Apple fanboy. Well actually not a full on Apple fanboy, I have an iPhone and an iPad but I don’t have a MacBook (although if IBM start offering a cash payment instead of giving laptops to mobile employees, that might change). But not everything is perfect in the land of Apple. Let me give you an example, one that I routinely find people are not aware of (apologies if you learnt all of this months ago).
The picture below appears to show three identical Apple charger packs (with Australian pins). You may have a similar collection. But are they all identical? Sadly not.
Only those with very good eyes can spot the difference by reading the rather pale decal on the bottom section of each charger. The text is so small and faint, I struggled to take a decent picture, but here is my sad attempt for one of them (they are all different):
So how are my three power adapters different?
- The first is marked as a 10 Watt USB Power Adapter (it came with an iPad). Its output is amusingly marked as 5.1 Volts DC at 2.1 Amps, which suggests 10.7 Watts.
- The second one is marked as a 5 Watt USB Power Adapter (it came with my iPhone). Its output is marked as 5 Volts DC at 1 Amp, which is indeed 5 Watts.
- The third is marked as an iPod USB Power Adapter. No stated wattage, but its output is marked as 5 Volts DC at 1 Amp, which again suggest 5 Watts. So perhaps my 5 Watt adapter and my iPod adapter are actually the same.
The big question that comes up: Are they interchangeable? The answer: Yes but with caveats.
If you have an iPad you should use the 10W adapter. If you use the 5W adapter it will still charge but at a much slower rate. Apple confirm this here where they state:
iPad will also charge, although more slowly, when attached to an iPhone Power Adapter (by which they mean a 5 Watt adapter).
If you have an iPhone or an iPod can you use the 10W adapter? The answer is yes! It will recharge with no ill effects. Apple confirm this here, where they state:
While designed for use with the iPad, you can use the iPad 10W USB Power Adapter to charge all iPhone and iPod models.
So I am putting my 5 Watt and iPod adapter in the cupboard and using the 10 Watt adapter exclusively. If you have an iPad and finds it’s recharging slowly, you may be using an older 5 Watt adapter (but you may need a magnifying glass to spot the difference!).
My suggestion to Apple? A few more cents worth of ink please, to make things more obvious.
Will it blend?