One thing that frustrated me early on in the evolution of laptops, mobile devices, and gadgets was the need for manufacturers to create proprietary plugs and charging devices. Not only were they expensive to replace but you could easily find yourself on the road with a broken device rendering your device useless for weeks until you could find a replacement or get your charger repaired. For a business laptop user, this spelled out the potential for disaster.
Thus, when Apple first introduced the iPod, I immediately questioned the need for a proprietary charger and USB connector. But I quickly got over it for two reasons. First, they’ve stayed consistent with the connector over the years. My original iPod connector works with my iPhone 4. Second, their market success has made these connectors available in literally every corner of the world which makes for easy replacement if you lose, damage, or simply need another. Still, my acceptance of Apple’s iPhone charger cables did hit a small bump in the road when I got my iPad. They are exactly the same but the iPhone charger would not charge the iPad! There is a reason for this. My goal in this post is to give you a quick couple of points on this so you can be a more savvy shopper when buying chargers for your Apple devices.
Savvy Shopper Summary
My first draft of this post looked like the history of electricity. Shame on me for losing sight of our reader base. So, I did the right thing and deleted all of that nonsense and put the necessary info into a simple rule of thumb shopping guide.
iPhones require a 5 Volt, 1 Amp charger that puts out 5 Watts of power. On the labels you will see the numbers 5v 1A and most likely 5 Watts listed. iPads require 5.1 Volt, 2.1 Amp chargers that produce 10 Watts of power. On these packages you’ll see the numbers like 5.1V 2.1A or 5.1V 2.3A listed. Per Apple’s website, you can use the iPad charger product safely on iPhones. So, when you go to the electronics store and specifically when you are buying 3rd party charging and connectivity products, only buy the ones that say 5.1V 2.1A or 5.1V 2.3A as this will ensure that they will work on both your iPhone and iPad products. Even if the package says iPad on it or a store employee says, “I think this will work on both.”, look for those numbers as they are the true answer as to whether it will charge both your devices. It is that easy. . . you don’t even have to know what those numbers mean! Trust me, even for a geek like me, there is no upside in learning it!
Products That Support 5.1 V 2.1 A
Here is a quick list of products I’ve found that support 5.1 V 2.1 A and will charge both your iPhone and iPad devices. A couple of these I actually own and enjoy thoroughly.
3rd Party Products
- Dexim Visible Green (DCA 257)
- Targus Backup Battery for the iPad
- Targus Plug-N-Power Charging Station
- Griffin PowerDuo for iPad
- Belkin Swivel Charger 2.1 Amp
- Kensington PowerBolt Duo Car Charger
Please chime in on the comments section to add a product you are aware of as increasing this list will be helpful to shoppers looking to reduce the number of chargers in their life!