toggle

AAPL Stock: 108 ( + 1.02 )

Printed from http://www.macnn.com

Apple patent for MagSafe mobile devices surfaces

updated 08:25 am EDT, Sat October 9, 2010

Apple bringing Macbook charging tech to iPhone?

The US Patent & Trademark office has published a new Apple patent for a MagSafe adapter that it may apply to the design of future mobile devices. The sketches (below) appear to depict a device that could fall into the same category as Apple's iPhone and iPad. The MagSafe adapter works by sending a power current through five pins, which corresponds to the five pins noted in connector 62 in the diagrams.

Apple currently employs its MagSafe adapter for its Macbook range of notebooks only and this is the first evidence to emerge that it is considering applying the same concept to a different class of device. By attaching magnetically, the MagSafe adapter helps to prevent a device from being inadvertently wrenched out of a user's hands should they try to move the device while it is still being charged.

Apple credits Chris Ligtenberg, John DiFonzo and Brett Degner as the inventors of patent application 20100254111. [via Patently Apple]




by MacNN Staff

POST TOOLS:

TAGS :

toggle

Comments

  1. Inkling

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -8

    How about Ethernet?

    A MagSafe-like power port for Apple's mobile devices would be handy, but with almost everyone (including Apple) committed to adding a Micro-USB port for power and data to please the EU and consumers, that'd mean Apple's little gadgets would have three ports: the long iPod connector, Micros-USB, and this mini-MagSafe. I doubt that'll happen.

    The idea also comes with a critical gotcha. MagSafe works with MacBooks because, relative to an iPhone, they're heavy devices with rubber feet that keep them from slipping and sliding easily. That's not true of iPhones or even iPads. Make the magnets strong enough to hold well and it'll grip when someone's foot catches the power cord of this feather-weight device, defeating the purpose of the magnet. Make it light enough to release in that situation, and it may inadvertently disconnect when we rearrange our desk. Leaving for work in the morning, we may discover that our precious iPhone isn't recharged for a busy day.

    It'd be much better to create a MagSafe-equivalent for Ethernet connections, making it an international standard and opening it up to everyone. The current bigger-than-a-phone connector is an ugly loser. It dates from the early 1980s, when IT staff servicing desktop PCs wanted something that was hard to disconnect, particularly by non-IT staff. It has no place in our mobile world and certainly no place on our portable/mobile gadgets.

    "But we don't need that any more." You say, "We've all gone wireless." Not really. There are many situations where security is paramount: medicine, banking, law and government. A lot of us would even like the assurance that the WiFi router we connect to at an airport really is legitimate. For security, even encrypted WiFi won't cut it, even with high levels of maintenance.

    And there are other situations, illustrated by this year's Apple developer's conference, where the people density is simply too great for wireless to work. For those situations, the solution certainly is wired without the current Ethernet connector everyone hates. It's something like MagSafe, perhaps with the addition of a USB-level of power to run a remote gadget like a cellular link to the Internet. The power could even be bi-directional, charging a mobile device as well as powering it.

    Inexpensive adaptors could handle the Ethernet side of the transition from the old to the new. It would, however, mean that for the idea to work Apple would have to open up Ethernet MagSafe to everyone rather than hoarding it for their gadgets.


  1. Fast iBook

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    iPad..

    I'm betting this will show up on the iPad, don't think it will be an iPhone thing, you need the pins for data transfer as well as power.

    - A

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    The benefit of MagSafe

    is not limited to just "By attaching magnetically, the MagSafe adapter helps to prevent a device from being inadvertently wrenched out of a user’s hands should they try to move the device while it is still being charged."

    It also prevents damage to the power port or cable end. "Fairly common" with the pin/sleeve connectors and ports on previous generation laptops, sometimes requiring replacement of the power port component.

    I gotta think that if you don't realize that big white connector is plugged into the bottom of your iWhatever, you probably are pretty careless with your stuff. But, hmmm. Maybe I said the same thing about the laptop pin/sleeve connectors, too. :P ;)

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    Re: The benefit of MagSafe

    is not limited to just "By attaching magnetically, the MagSafe adapter helps to prevent a device from being inadvertently wrenched out of a user’s hands should they try to move the device while it is still being charged."

    Which is why there'd be little benefit to magsafe on an iPad or iPhone or the like. MacBooks are heavier and give enough resistance to keep it from moving. The MBA is much lighter, but has the feet on it that help provide the resistance. If an iPad is connected via magsafe, the magnet would just as likely hold on to the iPad and still send it sailing as it would disengage. Or it would have to have so little magnetic connectivity that it won't stay connected over the slightest movement.

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.

toggle

Network Headlines

toggle

Most Popular

MacNN Sponsor

Recent Reviews

Tablo DVR

With over-the-top content options growing past Hulu and Netflix, consumers may be finding it harder to justify paying a monthly fee fo ...

Sound Blaster Roar Bluetooth speaker

There could very well be a new king of the hill for Bluetooth speakers, with Sound Blaster's recent entry into the marketplace. Bring ...

Kenu Airframe Plus

Simple, stylish and effective, the Kenu Airframe + portable car mount is the latest addition to Kenu's lineup. Released earlier this ...

toggle

Most Commented