New, Hyped Up Apple Battery Charger Offers Greener Standby Power Outputs

Image courtesy of mactalk.com.au

Everyone knows that Apple isn’t in the consumer-driven rechargeable battery business — they leave that industry vertical to companies like Sanyo, Vapex, and Panasonic. However, behind the scenes, Apple has invested millions into the R&D of its own in-house rechargeable battery technology. The LiOn rechargeable batteries used in its iPad, iPhone 4, and latest round of MacBooks are unprecedented in how long they can hold their charge and continue to perform an optimum levels. This, of course, is great news for the Apple consumer, since most of Apple’s most popular product are mobile-based.

But just as Ferrari started out as a strictly race-oriented car builder and only eventually got into the street car business, so too has Apple thrown its hat into the consumer rechargeable batteries market, looking to share a slice of the A$ 39 billion dollar pie, which is projected to grow to A$ 56 billion by 2013.

Apple’s new consumer-based NiMH battery charger hit the Australian consumer market just recently and, even though a battery charger is a rather modest piece of technology for the company that brought us the iPad, iPhone 4, and MacBook, it has caused as much of a splash as many of its top-tier gadgets.

Priced at A$ 39.00 — a middle-of-the-road price point for battery chargers — Apple’s battery charger is being hyped as one of the most “Green” NiMH battery chargers on the market, boasting a very low standby power output. While Apple claims that the average battery charger outputs 274 mW of power in a day when it is not charging batteries, the Apple battery charger only outputs 30 mW, thus saving a ton of electricity over the long haul. It does this by way of a sophisticated circuit that shuts the charger down automatically when not charging, similar to technology it uses on its mobile gadgets.

In addition, the battery charger comes with 6 NiMH AA rechargeable batteries and can charge them all at once — a particularly impressive feat, given the diminutive, portable size of the charger. This, combined with available interchangeable plugs for traveling, make Apple’s battery charger an immediate contender in the battery charger industry.

What are the downsides?

For one, Apple’s battery charger features the same sparse, minimalistic design features that you find on their pricier gadgets. Just as no Apple computer has an eject button for its disc drives (very strange), the battery charger features no LCD or indicator for determining the minute status of its charging cycle. Given its price when you compare it against similar battery charger designs, you’re actually paying quite a lot of money for a portable, non LED NiMH battery charger. You can get a very similar product, such as the VAPEX Super Fast LCD NiMH Battery charger for A$ 32.99 that features a LED display, 4 ports for charging both AA and AAA NiMH rechargeable batteries, and comparable charging technology as found on the Apple battery charger.

Also, while the Apple charger’s low standby power output is impressive, ultimately you can make any battery charger on the market achieve a zero mW standby power output very simply: just unplug the charger when you’re not using it! One can argue that because Apple’s battery charger has no LCD indicator, it encourages you to leave the charger plugged in for longer durations, thus wasting more energy than a comparable battery charger with an LCD.

The fact is, Apple has rolled out this new battery charger as a counterpart to its new keyboards, trackpads, mice, and other wireless accessories for their computers. If you check out their online store, you can see that they are heavily cross-promoting all of these items together, trying to upsell new trackpad customers on getting this little gadget to go with it.

And because we are so used to Apple making such great products, when we see their marketing hype machine go into full force for this little battery charger, we assume that it must be “The ‘iPad’ of all battery chargers.”

But the fact is, the Apple battery charger is probably just as good as lesser-priced battery chargers on the market. What are you paying for?

The logo, of course.

Thanks for reading our article! If you’re ready to purchase some rechargeable batteries, battery chargers, or any other electronics accessory, then visit the Electronics Warehouse website and use promo code EWBLOG at checkout for 10% off your entire order, plus FREE shipping Australia wide!

4 Responses to “New, Hyped Up Apple Battery Charger Offers Greener Standby Power Outputs”

  1. 1 a Aug 22nd, 2010 at 8:59 am

    LED indicator’s on the top.
    Orange when it’s charging, green for 6 hours and then turns off when it’s done, orange flashing if you put in a non-rechargeable battery.
    There isn’t actually a logo on it.

  2. 2 electronicswarehouse Aug 22nd, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Thanks for the comment. Correction: not “LED,” but “LCD,” like on this charger. No retraction on the power issue, though, because even turned-off electrical devices draw power when they are plugged in. It’s a misnomer that if you simply turn something off, that it is not drawing power.

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