Everything about the new iPhone XS and XS Max exudes luxury.
An edge-to-edge OLED display, stainless-steel construction, a camera that reviewers rave about, excellent speakers, and the iOS 12 operating system — it all combines for a decidedly premium experience.
But then you get to the charger that comes with the new iPhones — the same old bog-standard charger that charges iPhones at a glacial pace.
The new iPhone XS raises the question of why Apple doesn't include a fast-charging brick with its $1,000 smartphone.
In his iPhone XS unboxing video, the YouTube reviewer MKBHD put it well: "I was kind of hoping by 2018 we could get either a fast charger in the box, or a USB-C-to-Lightning [cable], or both. But we get neither of those things. I personally think it's getting kind of lame and kind of outdated that Apple of all companies doesn't ship a fast charger in the box of such an expensive, premium phone. Just sayin'."
Fast charging is a speed upgrade over the regular charging you get with the iPhone. It lets you get hours of battery life from just 30 minutes of charging.
And regarding a USB-C-to-Lightning cable, this tweet from the @JonyIveParody Twitter account portrays the problem beautifully:
Fast charging is available on the iPhone 8 and onward. But to fast-charge your iPhone, you have to buy separate accessories, like the $50 30W USB-C charger and the $20 USB-C-to-Lightning cable from Apple. That's an extra $70 for fast charging.
Meanwhile, a fast charger has become a standard feature included with most — if not all — flagship Android phones these days. Even a $250 Android phone, the Moto G6, comes with a fast charger.
More importantly, apart from comparing the iPhone's aging charger with its competition, it's also a question of getting a complete experience when you get a luxury item like the new iPhone XS.
At this stage, when the best iPhone costs $1,000 or more, I'd fully expect it to come with a set of essential accessories to make the most of the device. In this case, I'd expect a fast charger to make use of the iPhone's fast-charging support, not just the minimum required spec.
Otherwise, it feels like buying an expensive sports car that comes with cheap road tires, and you have to pay extra for the good tires to make the most of the car's performance.
With this logic, some might say wireless chargers should also be included, as the iPhone has had wireless-charging support since the iPhone 8. But unlike a fast charger, a wireless charger is not an accessory included with most — if any — smartphones, and fewer smartphones support wireless charging. It's a less essential accessory than those for wired charging.
Perhaps I'm particularly sensitive to this issue because I'm regularly exposed to premium Android flagship devices that come with fast chargers, whereas an iPhone fan who has owned only iPhones might not even be aware of the benefits of fast charging.
It's not the end of the world, as you'll still be able to charge the iPhone XS with the slow charger, much as you'd still be able to drive that fast, expensive sports car on cheap tires. It just feels as if Apple is missing an easy and relatively inexpensive opportunity to provide the "complete package" that many would expect when spending $1,000 on a new smartphone.