What it is: When companies no longer provide a coherent vision, that’s a clear sign the company is often fighting with itself.
Back in 2006, Apple introduced the MagSafe connector for recharging a MacBook laptop. Unlike older power connectors that stayed firmly inserted into the laptop, the MagSafe used magnetic connectors so they could easily pull away in case someone tripped over the cord. The MagSafe connector insured that yanking not hue cord suddenly wouldn’t send your laptop crashing to the floor.
At the time, the MagSafe connector was and still is a brilliant idea. Then Apple got stupid. With each successive generation of the MacBook laptop, Apple kept redesigning the MagSafe adapter. This meant that adapters for one model of the MacBook wouldn’t fit and work with other models of the MacBook. So if you bought several generations of MacBook laptops, you had to sort your MagSafe connectors so you didn’t bring the wrong one by mistake.
Constantly redesigning the MagSafe connector was idiotic that served no purpose other than to force people to buy new spare MagSafe adapters if they lost the original one that came with their MacBook. Now in the latest MacBook models, Apple has dropped the MagSafe connector altogether and chosen the USB-C connector port instead. While the USB-C connector will soon become an industry standard, it also means you can now trip over your power cord and yank your laptop to the floor with a crash, which was exactly what the MagSafe connector was supposed to prevent.
Obviously this shows the lack of vision and focus at Apple. To see the futility of corporate infighting and lack of cooperation, just look at how Microsoft wasted billions developing Windows 8 as a tablet operating system, Windows RT as a dedicated tablet operating system, and Windows Phone as a dedicated smartphone operating system, none of which could share software and each of which required developers to use different tools to create apps for each operating system.
Such inefficiency helped kill both Windows RT and Windows Phone, but it’s obvious that such competing and conflicting offerings did nothing for consumers. That’s exactly the problem with the MagSafe connectors. By constantly changing them and dumping them altogether, Apple has taken their focus off the consumer, which is a huge mistake.
Rather than adopt the USB-C standard just because everyone else is, Apple could have easily kept the same MagSafe adapter for all MacBook models and then created a USB-C connector to a MagSafe connector so you could charge the latest MacBook laptops with either a direct MagSafe connector or into a MagSafe adapter instead. Instead, a company called Griffon sells a BreakSafe adapter that gives you back the features of the MagSafe connector. It’s not as elegant since it requires an adapter, but it works and is only $29.99.
Perhaps the USB-C port is the future, but the MagSafe connector was and still is a great idea. The confusion that Apple has sowed regarding the MagSafe connector doesn’t bode well for how the company will flourish in the near future.