By Graham K. Rogers
Along with the devices I have been using, some charging accessories for the iPhone and the Apple Watch arrived recently. These are not to replace the normal ways the devices are charged, but to offer alternatives that might suit some users.
The Apple Watch and the iPhones come with specific charging devices in the box. In the case of the iPhone this is a standard 5w connector, and a USB to Lightning cable. Apple now has a series of stands that are colour-matched to the current range of iPhones: silver, space gray, gold and rose gold. I have one for the silver iPhone 6s Plus and another for the rose gold iPhone 6s I am currently using.
The Lightning connector allows the phone to be charged but is angled back slightly so that the iPhone display is easier to read. My normal way of charging is to lay the phone down, so if I need to read the screen, I either lean over or pick it up. With the new stand, there is some added convenience. This is further enhanced by a port for connecting speakers or headphones. This is at the rear of the stand, beside the Lightning power-connecting port.
The price in the USA is $49. In Thailand it is listed at 2,100 baht. Converting the dollar price to baht and adding 7% for VAT, shows a figure of 1,877 baht, so there is a slight penalty of just over 200 baht.
While this Dock has been in the apartment, I have also used it to charge the iPad Air 2, my older iPhone 6, and an iPod touch. I have not tried with the iPad Pro. That needs more power and comes with a newer 12W power adapter.
Like the iPhones, the Apple Watch comes with a charger, although the technology is different. Induction charging is used which avoids the need for a connecting port. The ceramic connector receives power from a Lightning cable. My approach has been to lay the Watch down overnight with the connector touching the rear of the device where the charging system is located.
Apple now has a Magnetic Charging Dock. The slightly-domed dock allows the Watch to be connected either laid down (as with the standard connector) or with the face at right angles to the dock. The charging connector in the center of the dome, hinges up and out to allow this. I wonder about the shape of the dock as it seems to be unlike the firm lines and strong shapes we have come to expect from Apple in recent years.
The Dock is made of a white plastic material on its top surface. Underneath is a fibrous material that provides some grip. I charged the Apple Watch Sport I am using overnight and noticed no difference at all in the behaviour (which is what I would expect).
In the USA the price is $79. In Thailand this is priced at 3,300 baht. Converting the dollar price to baht and adding 7% for VAT, shows a figure of 3027 baht, so there is a slight penalty of just under 300 baht. While slightly higher priced for Thai users, this is more likely due to currency fluctuations. I wrote a comparison on just this some weeks ago and in most cases the relative US and Thai prices were fairly close, when VAT was factored in.
Like the iPhone dock (above) this Magnetic Charging Dock is a device that it not needed, but may add to convenience for some users with the ability to position the iPhone and Watch to provide enhanced accessibility.
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Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.