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iPhone 13 needs to steal this OnePlus 9 Pro feature. Seriously

Commentary: The next version of MagSafe needs to be much faster.

Patrick Holland Managing Editor
Patrick Holland has been a phone reviewer for CNET since 2016. He is a former theater director who occasionally makes short films. Patrick has an eye for photography and a passion for everything mobile. He is a colorful raconteur who will guide you through the ever-changing, fast-paced world of phones, especially the iPhone and iOS. He used to co-host CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast and interviewed guests like Jeff Goldblum, Alfre Woodard, Stephen Merchant, Sam Jay, Edgar Wright and Roy Wood Jr.
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  • Patrick's play The Cowboy is included in the Best American Short Plays 2011-12 anthology. He co-wrote and starred in the short film Baden Krunk that won the Best Wisconsin Short Film award at the Milwaukee Short Film Festival.
Patrick Holland
2 min read
OnePlus 9 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max

On the left is the OnePlus 9 Pro charging on the OnePlus 50-watt wireless charger. On the right is the iPhone 12 Pro Max charging with the 15W MagSafe charger.

Patrick Holland/CNET

One of the more persistent rumors for the next iPhone (some call it the iPhone 13) is that Apple will scrap the Lightning port entirely. And with the launch last year of MagSafe charging on the iPhone 12 series, it's not hard to envision a future in which we rely solely on wireless charging to power our phone's battery. An iPhone 12 on a MagSafe charger can go from 0 to 50% battery charge in an hour. This is hardly a replacement for the much faster charging you get with a Lightning cable and wall charger.

The new OnePlus 9 Pro might hold an answer to the portless iPhone riddle. For weeks, OnePlus hyped the phone's cameras, designed in partnership with Hasselblad, the legendary Scandinavian camera company. You'd think the cameras would be the best feature, but they aren't. Instead, it's the OnePlus 9 Pro's ability to wirelessly charge at 50 watts that really stands out.

This means you can go from an empty battery to a full one in about 45 minutes without plugging the phone in. What's more impressive is that this level of fast wireless charging comes on a phone that costs $969 (£829, which converts roughly to AU$1,490). To give you perspective, the $999 iPhone 12 Pro and a MagSafe charger top out at 15 watts. Imagine being able to wirelessly charge your iPhone with a MagSafe charger at 50 watts instead of 15.

The OnePlus 9 Pro, like the Asus ROG Phone 5 and last year's OnePlus 8T, uses a dual-cell battery that simultaneously charges both cells. To hit that optimized wireless charging, you need the $70 OnePlus Warp Charge 50 wireless charger, which has two coils to charge each battery at 25 watts. The charging stand lets you charge the 9 Pro in either a vertical or horizontal position and has a built-in fan to keep things from getting too warm.

If Apple ever did remove the Lightning port from the iPhone completely, I realize there would be more than just batteries and charging to consider. Like what would come in the actual box to charge the phone? A lower-watt MagSafe charger? How much would a 50-watt wireless charger from Apple cost? If OnePlus charges $70, it's easy to see Apple charging $99 or $129. Would this feature just be available on the "Pro" versions of the iPhone 13 or would it be across the line? Also, what replaces the data sharing that the Lightning port provides?

If Apple's future is a port-less iPhone with only MagSafe charging, then the OnePlus 9 Pro and its 50-watt wireless charger are a welcome proof of concept of how it might work. It solves perhaps the biggest concern many of us would have, aside from how much we'd need to spend to swap out our existing chargers. And if Apple keeps the Lightning port, the OnePlus 9 Pro illustrates that we should expect a lot more from the next version of MagSafe charging.

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