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Wouldn’t life be more fun if charging bricks looked like tiny Macintosh computers?

Wouldn’t life be more fun if charging bricks looked like tiny Macintosh computers?

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A new crowdfunding campaign aims to offer exactly that

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The Retro 35 charger.
The Retro 35 charger.
Image: Shargeek / Indiegogo

Accessory-maker Shargeek has launched an Indiegogo to fund a 35W USB-C charger shaped like a tiny Apple Macintosh computer. The page for the Retro 35’s crowdfunding campaign is very careful not to mention the name of Apple’s classic computer, but it’s drawn some very obvious inspiration, from the beige color scheme down to the placement of the disk drive. The device is eventually set to retail for $49, with Indiegogo “early bird” pricing starting at $25. 

As increasing numbers of phone manufacturers have stopped shipping charging bricks with their devices, aftermarket chargers are becoming more popular. Often, these bricks offer additional ports or higher charging speeds compared to their first-party equivalents, but it’s fun to see Shargeek go in a different direction and focus on looks rather than specs. 

The Retro 35 alongside a range of devices it can charge.
The Retro 35 alongside a range of devices it can charge.
Image: Shargeek
Retro vibes.
Retro vibes.
Image: Shargeek

That said, all of Shargeek’s images of the Retro 35 show it being plugged into power strips laid flat on desks to ensure it’s the right way up. But I’d wager most chargers spend their time plugged into a wall outlet, which would force the charger to be laid sideways. It would still look pretty cute like this, but less ... aesthetic than Shargeek’s promotional images. 

In terms of specs, this is a 35W USB-C charger, which means it offers enough juice for smartphones, tablets, or lower-powered laptops like the M1 MacBook Air. It supports a range of charging protocols including PPS, PD3.0 and QC3.0, and its screen is designed to light up in different colors depending on how fast it’s charging your device. Yellow means “normal charging,” blue is “fast charging,” and green is “super charging,” though there’s no mention of which specific speeds these colors correspond to.

A note on crowdfunding:

Crowdfunding is a chaotic field by nature: companies looking for funding tend to make big promises. According to a study run by Kickstarter in 2015, roughly 1 in 10 “successful” products that reach their funding goals fail to actually deliver rewards. Of the ones that do deliver, delays, missed deadlines, or overpromised ideas mean that there’s often disappointment in store for those products that do get done.

The best defense is to use your best judgment. Ask yourself: does the product look legitimate? Is the company making outlandish claims? Is there a working prototype? Does the company mention existing plans to manufacture and ship finished products? Has it completed a Kickstarter before? And remember: you’re not necessarily buying a product when you back it on a crowdfunding site.

The Retro 35 comes with prongs for US sockets by default, but there are adapters to make it work with UK, Australian, and EU sockets. 

Apple’s original Macintosh was a design icon, and continues to inspire accessories to this day. A couple of years ago we saw Elago offer an Apple Watch charging stand in the shape of a Macintosh, which charged Apple’s smartwatch while repurposing its display as a “screen” for a miniature version of the 80s computer. 

Obviously, this is a crowdfunding campaign, so all the usual caveats apply. But this isn’t Shargeek’s first crack at selling charging accessories, after it previously put out the Storm 2 and Storm 2 Slim power banks. That means backing the new project isn’t a complete shot in the dark. Otherwise, Shargeek hopes to ship the new Retro 35 charger in July after the crowdfunding campaign closes.