Alongside the iPhone 12, Apple introduced a new MagSafe line of accessories that snap to the back of the smartphone, and according to a new report there's a portable MagSafe battery pack in the works.
As per Bloomberg, the add-on has been in the works for at least a year, and could well have launched already if it wasn't for "issues related to software" that are causing delays. One such issue is the pack reporting that it's overheating when it isn't, apparently.
The "people with knowledge of the product" speaking to Bloomberg say that another problem has been getting the charging pack to work when users switch from using a phone case to not using a phone case, and vice versa.
In fact the software issues have been so persistent that Apple might even scrap the idea of the accessory entirely, Bloomberg reports. This could be another AirPower, the charging mat which Apple got as far as announcing before deciding that it was too much of an engineering challenge.
Leader of the battery pack
Apple already makes MagSafe cases and traditional chargers, and there are plenty of MagSafe products available from third-party accessory makers too. Apple also makes a non-MagSafe battery pack case for the iPhone, but this new product is apparently just a battery without the casing.
Bloomberg's sources have indicated that some of the device prototypes have a white rubber exterior. The pack would simply clip to the back of an iPhone 12 model with magnets and start charging it, and could prove a popular accessory for those who spend a lot of time on the go.
There were whispers of a portable battery back earlier in the month based on code discovered in the beta version of iOS 14.5, and we've also seen published patents that Apple is busy exploring the possibilities that MagSafe technology opens up.
We'll have to wait and see whether this MagSafe battery pack makes it to consumers, but don't expect it anytime soon. Another tidbit from the Bloomberg report: Apple is still exploring the idea of reversible charging (so charging up AirPods on the back of an iPhone, for example), but it's nowhere near becoming a reality yet.
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Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.