Tech Blog

Forget other new Apple devices, I want the battery charger

by Blogger on ‎07-29-2010 11:36 PM

4421i8E970A0655A29CF8This week, as expected, Apple announced a slew product updates including the cool looking Magic Trackpad—Apple introduces the Magic Trackpad—however, like the folks at TUAW, I think the new Apple Battery charger is the product people should run out and buy—Apple's new battery charger is deceptively cool - Apple (Canada) - Apple Battery Charger - The energy-efficient way to power your accessories.. Here's why. First at less than $30, the charger itself is a bargain. Second, it comes with six batteries! Third, the batteries are listed to be good for ten years. Finally, Apple says that its charger is the most power efficient chargers out there drawing only 30 mW compared to the industry average of 315 mW. Still not sold?

 

Sure there are a lot of chargers out there, and I used to use rechargeables for all my devices, but the problem was that when they ran out I didn't have fast and ready batteries on hand. Oh sure I'd charge a bunch, but we all know that NiMH batteries lose their charge over time. Apple says that they've solved that problem by designing batteries that hold their charge better (keeping 80% of their charge after a year). So Apple seems to have created a better battery charger and better NiMH batteries (you can, btw, use any NiMH battery in the charger), why isn't this bigger news?

 

That I don't have an answer for.

 

Myself, I'm going to be keeping an eye out for the chargers when they hit the store. I've been charging up my rechargeables on hand so that as my mouse and keyboard start to run low on batteries I'll switch to them. Oh yeah, I'll still pick up the Apple batteries, but in the meantime I need to make sure that the batteries I have actually work. Really, switching to rechargeables can save you a lot of money, plus "disposable" batteries are one of the largest (if not the largest) contributors of toxic materials to our landfills. Switch to rechargeables, it's a good thing. And by all accounts, Apple has made it really easy for all of us.

Comments
by Retired Blogger on ‎07-30-2010 09:37 AM

I wonder how these batteries compare to eneloops. Honestly it doesn't seem like Apple are doing anything different here; eneloops have been for sale in Canada for ages and are superb.

by Blogger on ‎07-30-2010 10:39 AM

I don't know Mathew. I haven't seen eneloops around. Maybe Apple's pure size will help push this forward?

by Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador on ‎07-30-2010 11:12 AM
Looking at the storage rentention specs, I think they are rebranded Eneloops. With regards to the charger, the emphasis is on low consumption, but are the cells charged independently to maximize life? Also, are there many things made today by Apple that uses AA's.
by Blogger on ‎07-30-2010 11:16 AM

@XL ... yep the wireless keyboard takes two...so does the Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad. I think the choice of AAs was key to that. I don't think the charger charges AAAs, but I could be wrong.

 

The specs suggest that you can charge them one at a time, so I'm guessing that the batteries are charged independently.

by Retired Blogger on ‎07-30-2010 12:00 PM

The images don't show white tops, a trademark of rebranded eneloops (Duracell sell what people call "Duraloops" in most stores, they're the ones called "pre-charged" I think) but whether they are or not, looking at the specs and website I agree this is classic Apple; claiming to have invented the wheel and charging more for it (I got a set of eneloops a couple of weeks ago that had eight batteries and a four slot charger for eleven dollars less than the RRP of this.)

by Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador on ‎07-30-2010 07:28 PM

To clarify.... all chargers have the ability to charge batteries separately... however, are the circuits independent?  If you start charging one cell and then add a second cell 30 or 60 minutes later... what happens? 

 

Smart chargers with independent circuits will send more power to the second cell while the first cell power is reduced as it's near capacity.  This prolongs battery usage life.

 

Dumb chargers don't know the difference and will send the same power to BOTH cells, shortening the life of the first cell.

 

I use Maha chargers for my Eneloops.  While not cheap, Maha chargers can charge up to 8 cells simultaneously, but independently.  Very handy while traveling and you have lots of electronic accessories consuming power at different rates.

 

BTW.... looking at the Apple store, I notice the new Apple charger takes 5 HOURS to charge your cells.  Hope you have lots of patience.

http://store.apple.com/us/questions/product/MC500LL/A?mco=MTg1OTc0NDg

© 2011 Future Shop. All rights reserved. For personal, noncommercial use.