Apple has used its proprietary MagSafe connectors on its MacBooks since 2006, preventing you from accidentally dumping your laptop onto the ground by tripping over the cord. But where is MagSafe for iOS devices?
Currently, Apple still uses 30-pin connectors for iOS devices, making it very easy to dump your iPhone or iPad on the ground with a sickening thud – I know from experience. Fortunately, as a series of new “coded magnet” Apple patents discovered Patently Apple reveals, that may be about to change.
There are multiple patents that discuss the use of MagSafe-like functionality in iOS devices, and even the inclusion of cool new magnet-driven features based on similar ideas that may eventually come not only to iOS devices, but to MacBooks as well.
One such patent describes a new connector that Apple could use to replace the current 30-pin dock connector:
The primary magnetically attached connector in this application is noted as being MagSafe, though be it, amore advanced version of it as is described in the patent application. Conceptually, this further supports Apple’s 2011 granted patent for a future iPad with a MagSafe port.
A second patent details how a MagSafe-like connector could be used to connect accessories with iOS devices. The example reported by Patently Apple shows such a connection being used to connect a multifunction stylus to an iPad.
The report also mentions the possibility of using magnets for security purposes, as well as magnet-driven wireless charging for both iOS devices and for Macs, such as in the below sketch detailing a magnetic wireless docking station for a MacBook
All in all, this is a cool crop of ideas from Apple. However, as with all Apple patents, these ideas may or may not ever make it into finished Apple products. In fact, the majority of Apple patents remain patents forever and never see the light of day.
Still, these ideas are pretty compelling, and provide some thought into what Apple might be planning for the future.