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Apple designs a new folding British plug for the Apple Watch power supply unit

Posted on by Mike Evans

Regular readers of MacFilos will know that I have a down on the Great British Plug. It is a monstrous confection, over engineered in the cause of safety and introduced in the 1950s when most appliances were enormous. It was probably considered to be small and neat.

Photo Will Carling (Twitter). From this picture it looks like raising the earth prong automatically extends the two power prongs

Photo Will Carling (Twitter). From this picture it looks like raising the earth prong automatically extends the two power prongs

It is hard to fault the UK plug on anything but size. It is probably the safest system in the world. The power slots on the sockets are closed by flaps until the longer earth prong forces them open to receive the two power contacts. Even then, the metal contacts are protected by insulated sleeves so that it is impossibe to expose any part of the conductor to prying fingers. It works and it is secure. But it is huge.

These days, the GB plug often dwarfs the gadget it serves. Meanwhile, Americans have it good with their diminutive two-pin system although it is still possible only because of the lower voltage power supply. There is a larger American three-pin system for more powerful applicatons but it is still much smaller than the British version, more akin to the European standard plug. Sadly there is now no British two-pin system (as there was pre-1990) except for use with shaver sockets in bathrooms.

The idea of the folding plug has been around a long time but it now seems that Apple has put its design talents to creating a new folding plug which will be supplied with UK versions of the Apple Watch. We are tipped off by none other than Will Carling, rugby star and now cyclist. He got an early Watch and was surprised to find the redesigned power unit in the box.

With luck this innovation will percolate through to iPhone, iPad and Mac power units. About time. And it will bring joy to Apple Watch buyers in Ireland, Malaysia, Malta, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong where the British-designed monster also lurks, waiting to surprise unwary visitors.

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