The patent, which was originally filed in September 2017, was first spotted by PatentlyApple.
In the patent listing, Apple details how power cords can cause damage to laptops, tablets, and smartphones if they are still plugged in during a “jolting” motions, like if the device is dropped.
Interestingly, Apple’s new patent acknowledges how “magnetic connectors” were introduced to solve this problem of unsafe cable disconnections. To put things in perspective, Apple acknowledged the downside of its own MagSafe power connector, hinting that it is working on an improved version of the connector.
According to Apple’s patent application, magnetic connectors like MagSafe “still have a high likelihood of suffering physical damage when experiencing a jolting event because the magnetic connectors maintain attracting force throughout the entire jolting event.”
Apple also notes that solutions like MagSafe proved to be inefficient. MagSafe used to have a tiny light on the plug which would turn orange if the computer was charging and green if the computer was fully charged. “This visual indicator is constantly on, thereby wasting power and decreasing the efficiency at which the portable electronic device receives power,” according to Apple.
Apple also notes, though, that an ideal solution would need some way to communicate when a connection has been established successfully.
Apple also thinks that it has figured out a better way to indicate connection on MagSafe. The new solution, according to Apple, would give off haptic feedback, which will communicate that a device has been successfully connected, instead of including a light on the cord that would turn orange in the process of charging and green when the device is fully charged. The new solution from Apple would vibrate once it is successfully connected with a device.
Lastly, Apple seems to be wanting the updated version of MagSafe to work with everything. The older MagSafe was limited to Mac computers only–and only laptops at that, however, Apple’s new patent describes that the new smart charging solution would be able to operate with “a smartphone, wearable device, smartwatch, tablet, personal computer, and the like.”
Nevertheless, although the prospect of a new and improved MagSafe is exciting, it is worth noting that often the products filed in the form of a patent by companies do not see the light of the day, or make it into a commercial product.
The last computer Apple made with support for MagSafe was MacBook Air 2017. Apple has been criticized for retiring MagSafe in favor of USB-C and with the latest development, it looks like the company is looking forward to blending the best of the two worlds by offering a connector that can also offer data transfer but with the security of MagSafe.