First look: Apple Battery Charger and AA batteries

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Perhaps the most surprising product unveiled by Apple last week was its new environmentally friendly $29 Battery Charger and six AA batteries. AppleInsider offers a look at the rechargeables that will power your Magic Trackpad, Magic Mouse, wireless keyboard, or any other battery-driven device.



Apple's introduction of updated Mac Pros and iMacs, a new 27-inch LED Cinema Display, and the multi-touch Magic Trackpad were all expected product releases last week. But the company also introduced the new Apple Battery Charger, designed to power its wireless desktop input devices.



For $29, users get six AA batteries, and a wall charger that can recharge two batteries at a time. Apple's pricing is competitive, and better than many competing options available today.



The charger itself is small -- smaller than most. But instead of selling the hardware based on its size, Apple is touting a "vampire draw" power consumption that is more than 10 times better than the industry average. That energy conservation is part of a green pitch the company has made in selling its first batteries.



Apple says that the average battery charger uses 315 milliwatts of power after it has charged its AAs. The Apple Battery Charger, however, senses when the batteries are topped off, and reduces the power consumption to just 30 milliwatts.



But many other (much larger) battery chargers will recharge up to four batteries at once. Apple has said that users can use two batteries to power their Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad, two for their wireless keyboard, and use the remaining two to charge.



The batteries do not have an Apple logo on them, featuring a plain silver design that simply reads "Rechargeable." In fact, the only mention of Apple on the battery is in the fine print: "Charge only with Apple specified charger. Made in Japan."







It is unknown whether the Cupertino, Calif., company actually had a hand in designing the batteries, or if they are simply rebranded from a traditional battery maker. A request for comment from Apple public relations was not returned.



However, the charger -- white, like all others from Apple -- does include the traditional "Designed by Apple in California" fine print.







The charger features a light on top that glows amber when the batteries are being charged and turns green once the charge cycle is completed. The green light automatically turns off six hours after the battery charging has completed.



It is not a "quick" charger, like those that will provide power to batteries in 15 minutes. This will not be a major concern to most, as the Bluetooth Magic Mouse and wireless keyboard can operate for months without having their batteries replaced, giving users ample opportunity to recharge.







The Ni-MH batteries ship about three-quarters of the way charged, and topping off two AA batteries after the package was opened took over an hour. Apple states the batteries have a minimum capacity of 1900 mAh.



Based on the designed life cycle and anticipated user scenario, Apple says that its batteries will offer a service life of up to 10 years. Apple also claims that the included six AA batteries have an "extraordinarily low self-discharge rate," and can sit without use for a year and maintain 80 percent of their original charge. The real test, of course, will come after months of use with the batteries. As anyone who has used other rechargeables can attest, the batteries often do not continue to hold a charge after less than 10 months, let alone 10 years.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 155
    rbonnerrbonner Posts: 635member
    My charger came today, very nice.



    I have noticed that if I hold it in a certain way, the batteries don't charge as fast.
  • Reply 2 of 155
    kpluckkpluck Posts: 500member
    It looks nice but I can't help but feel that Apple blew it on the design of this thing. It really should have included at least one USB port for charging devices like the iPad or iPhone.



    -kpluck
  • Reply 3 of 155
    rbonnerrbonner Posts: 635member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kpluck View Post


    It looks nice but I can't help but feel that Apple blew it on the design of this thing. It really should have included at least one USB port for charging devices like the iPad or iPhone.



    -kpluck



    Great point, would have been nice.
  • Reply 4 of 155
    gmcalpingmcalpin Posts: 266member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kpluck View Post


    It looks nice but I can't help but feel that Apple blew it on the design of this thing. It really should have included at least one USB port for charging devices like the iPad or iPhone.



    I don't know if that means they "blew it," but it's certainly a good idea. It's not like they can't make two kinds of chargers easily enough.



    You should suggest that to Apple.
  • Reply 5 of 155
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
  • Reply 6 of 155
    superbasssuperbass Posts: 688member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kpluck View Post


    It looks nice but I can't help but feel that Apple blew it on the design of this thing. It really should have included at least one USB port for charging devices like the iPad or iPhone.



    -kpluck



    Totally. Would be nice if you could plug in a Macbook or iPod to charge in the same wall socket - pretty un-apple to add yet another lump of plastic to the lump of plastic drawer with it's only function being charging AA batteries...



    Who uses AA batteries anymore btw? I've had a logitech mouse and wireless headset with built-in rechargeable batteries going strong for about 4 years now... Besides 9 volts in the smoke detector and distortion pedals, I think i'm basically removeable-battery free.



    This does take me back, though, to Dynacharge rechargeables in the summer of '85. Those were the days....
  • Reply 7 of 155
    elbelb Posts: 6member
    AA batteries are rated at 1.5 volts, but most rechargeable batteries are only 1.2 Volts. I was wondering if Apple figured out a way to make a 1.5 Volt rechargeable battery?



    I'm using rechargeable batteries from China on my aluminum keyboard and Magic Mouse, but they really don't last that long and the System Preferences says they're never more than 60% even after being fully charged.
  • Reply 8 of 155
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,570member
    It would be nice if they sold additional batteries separately. I'll need 6 alone just for my keyboard + MM + MT -- I plan to keep the MM available for the times when I may prefer it -- and a few extra for a couple of remotes would be nice too, as well as a spare couple in the charger.
  • Reply 9 of 155
    storneostorneo Posts: 101member
    The rechargeable battery isn't anything new. I thought Apple was an innovative company!



    #Sarcasm
  • Reply 10 of 155
    joe hsjoe hs Posts: 488member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rbonner View Post


    My charger came today, very nice.



    I have noticed that if I hold it in a certain way, the batteries don't charge as fast.



    I hope that wasn't a reference to you know what, it's getting old real quick.
  • Reply 11 of 155
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    At a conservatively over-priced $0.20 per kilowatt-hour, 315 milliwatts over 10 years will cost $5.50.



    Compare that to the Apple charger's 30 milliwatts over 10 years costing $0.50.



    That's a whopping $5 savings--total over 10 years.
  • Reply 12 of 155
    Recharge only 2 batteries at a time? No thanks.
  • Reply 13 of 155
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rbonner View Post


    My charger came today, very nice.



    I have noticed that if I hold it in a certain way, the batteries don't charge as fast.



    (The problem gets resolved if you stick your finger in the socket, though).



    Btw, I got mine too, yesterday, and love it.
  • Reply 14 of 155
    I'm surprised Apple didn't call them "Magic Batteries."
  • Reply 15 of 155
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post


    At a conservatively over-priced $0.20 per kilowatt-hour, 315 milliwatts over 10 years will cost $0.55.



    Compare that to the Apple charger's 30 milliwatts over 10 years costing $0.05.



    That's a whopping 50 cent savings--max.



    I see you managed to miss the point - as usual.



    If there's no additional cost or environmental load to manufacture Apple's chargers, that's a free energy savings - since the price is competitive. If a billion people save 315 mw on this - and then start thinking about other places they can save energy - it could add up.



    It's easy to say "I can only save 100 W per fixture by using energy efficient bulbs. Multiply that by 20 fixtures in your house, 5 hours of use per day, and 6 billion people and it could save an enormous amount of energy and pollution.



    It doesn't matter if you're concerned about global warming or concerned about sending money to terrorist countries, using less energy is smart.
  • Reply 16 of 155
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,570member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by StLBluesFan View Post


    Recharge only 2 batteries at a time? No thanks.



    Unless you have devices that take more than 2 batteries at a time, it's unlikely you need to charge more than that at once. Although, it's possible that 2 devices will have their batteries run down at exactly the same time, it's not likely to happen very frequently. Apple's AA devices each now take 2 batteries -- and, obviously, their motivation is to make a charger for use with your Apple devices -- so recharging 2 at a time seems entirely reasonable, otherwise, you are paying for charger capacity that you aren't using most of the time.
  • Reply 17 of 155
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,570member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    I'm surprised Apple didn't call them "Magic Batteries."



    They are LSD batteries.
  • Reply 18 of 155
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post


    At a conservatively over-priced $0.20 per kilowatt-hour, 315 milliwatts over 10 years will cost $0.55.



    Compare that to the Apple charger's 30 milliwatts over 10 years costing $0.05.



    That's a whopping 50 cent savings--max.



    Technically, you're off by a decimal point here, so the numbers work out to $5.50 for 'others' and $0.55 for apple, so it's a savings of about $5.



    Still nothing to write home about, but every little bit helps, right?
  • Reply 19 of 155
    drk_onedrk_one Posts: 23member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rbonner View Post


    I have noticed that if I hold it in a certain way, the batteries don't charge as fast.



    Ha! Love it!!!
  • Reply 20 of 155
    Based on made in Japan and the 80% discharge rate, I will place a bet that they are eneloop batteries by sanyo. I personally use them for all my camera equipment. check it out on amazon http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&key...l_93w1xqq71m_b
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