How Do iPhone Chargers Work?

Ever wonder what’s under the hood of the humble, ubiquitous iPhone charger? Okay, me neither… but the little device that keeps your precious iPhone, iPad or iPod chugging has a bit more to it than you might think. Ken Shiriff did a pretty extensive breakdown of the little white cube and it’s umbilical cord attachment and discovered some interesting stuff, such as how incredibly complex the construction of this seemingly simple device is and (a little less surprising) how much Apple makes off of every unit sold:

I was surprised to realize how enormous Apple’s profit margins must be on these chargers. These chargers sell for about $30 (if not counterfeit), but that must be almost all profit. Samsung sells a very similar cube charger for about $6-$10, which I also disassembled (and will write up details later). The Apple charger is higher quality and I estimate has about a dollar’s worth of additional components inside. But it sells for $20 more.

Though Shiriff is taken aback by Apple’s profit on these devices, he’s also very clear about how the Apple chargers are a cut above knock-offs, saying “Apple went to extra effort to provide higher quality and safety than other name-brand chargers, but this quality comes at a high cost.”

Our philosophy on the high cost is simply this: When a knockoff charger costs a third as much as the Apple product and yet shatters, shorts out, falls apart or simply fails to work when you need it… did you really save yourself something of value by keeping $20 in your pocket?

Source: Ken Shirrif’s Blog

Corey has been been a tech journalist with a focus on Apple since 1998 and has written for The Loop, MacHome magazine, and as games contributor for The Mac Bible, and co-hosts the iGame Radio Podcast. He works as a… Full Bio