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In a newly granted patent, Apple envisions a type of connectivity port using an iteration of its magnetic MagSafe charger to charge an iPhone, potentially paving the way for a future without Lightning.

Screen-Shot-2021-03-03-at-11.09.57-AM.png

Submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday (via Patently Apple), the patent outlines a three-pinned MagSafe charger, similar to the ones found in older MacBook computers. Apple discusses multiple different pin designs that would connect the charger to the device. The patent shows a pin that is more round in one image, while another shows a more flat-surface design.

The patent itself doesn't mention or reference an iPhone by name, but an image in the filing depicts what seems to be the bottom of an iPhone with the MagSafe charger concept. Compared to the current Lightning port on the iPhone, MagSafe has its advantages. Based on a set of magnets, MagSafe allows the device to easily detach from the charger if it gets tripped on or yanked.

Screen-Shot-2021-03-03-at-11.47.24-AM.png

With the iPhone 12 lineup, Apple reintroduced MagSafe in the form of large circular magnets on the back of the device. Currently, Apple is marketing MagSafe on the iPhone as a place to charge and attach various accessories.
The patent could entail Apple's long-term vision of turning the current MagSafe charge on the back of the device as a place for accessories, such as a battery pack, and leave the magnetic MagSafe charger on the bottom in place to charge the iPhone. Implementing the concept on a lighter-weight device like an iPhone would presumably require a detaching mechanism using weaker magnets with more give.

This week, reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo poured cold water on hopes that Apple would switch the iPhone to a USB-C connector anytime soon. Kuo states that USB-C has lower specifications compared to Lightning and MagSafe. Kuo specifically says that if an iPhone in the future abandons Lighting, it would immediately adopt a portless design with MagSafe.

Apple is expected to bring MagSafe back to the Mac, according to both Bloomberg and Kuo. The version of MagSafe expected to debut in the upcoming 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models will likely feature a similar design to previous iterations and offer faster-charging speeds. Learn more about MagSafe's history and potential future uses in our comprehensive MagSafe guide.

Article Link: MagSafe Charging Port for iPhone Appears in Apple Patent
 
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Michael Scrip

macrumors 603
Mar 4, 2011
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I like the idea in the first image.

If this MagSafe concept gets implemented across all of Apple's product lines... we can finally use the same magnetic cable to charge an iPhone and a Macbook. And an iPad and whatever else.

It makes this look ridiculous by comparison:

38468-73114-201026-MagSafe-xl2.jpg
 
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mazz0

macrumors 68020
Mar 23, 2011
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Leeds, UK
Now this is what I want on my MacBook!
I think that's silly - just use a standard USB port to charge and have a magnetic breakaway section in the cable. There is literally no downside to this approach that I can see and several upsides:
- Standard port, so you can use other cables if you like, and you can charge with any of the devices ports
- Standard cable can be used to charge any USB-C device
- Still has the safety benefit of the magnetic detachability
I'm open to hearing why making it its own port connection is better.
 
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MacGizmo

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2003
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Arizona
I like the idea in the first image.

If this MagSafe concept gets implemented across all of Apple's product lines... we can finally use the same magnetic cable to charge an iPhone and a Macbook. And an iPad and whatever else.

It makes this look ridiculous by comparison:

View attachment 1737903
Don't count on that. The charging/power requirements for an iPhone are vastly different than a 16" MBPro... I highly doubt Apple will do us the courtesy of using the exact same charging cable for both.

But who knows, maybe the Jony Ive-less Apple will turn over a new leaf and do the smart, functional thing instead of the "it looks better" thing.
 
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ian87w

macrumors 68030
Feb 22, 2020
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Apple probably would've opted for this originally (so people have to buy new cables) , but I believe there's the EU regulation about charging ports. So I'm guessing that's why they went with the current qi wireless magsafe.
 
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Marshall73

macrumors 68000
Apr 20, 2015
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They sell USB to lightning cables with a magnetic coupler on Amazon. I thought it was silly at first but I can’t imagine not having one now and I use them on all of my headphones now
Does their USB C cable work fine on MacBooks?
 
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cymac777

macrumors newbie
Feb 5, 2019
5
10
They sell USB to lightning cables with a magnetic coupler on Amazon. I thought it was silly at first but I can’t imagine not having one now and I use them on all of my headphones now
That is exactly what Apple should be doing. Stick to USB c, add a fancy magnetic safety mechanism and be done with it. Don't come up with another useless different type of plug.
 
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shapesinaframe

macrumors regular
Jan 14, 2020
161
192
Don't count on that. The charging/power requirements for an iPhone are vastly different than a 16" MBPro... I highly doubt Apple will do us the courtesy of using the exact same charging cable for both.

But who knows, maybe the Jony Ive-less Apple will turn over a new leaf and do the smart, functional thing instead of the "it looks better" thing.
Yet we have USB-C phones and laptop charger connectors
 
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mazz0

macrumors 68020
Mar 23, 2011
2,442
1,988
Leeds, UK
I think that's silly - just use a standard USB port to charge and have a magnetic breakaway section in the cable. There is literally no downside to this approach that I can see and several upsides:
- Standard port, so you can use other cables if you like, and you can charge with any of the devices ports
- Standard cable can be used to charge any USB-C device
- Still has the safety benefit of the magnetic detachability
I'm open to hearing why making it its own port connection is better.
@uther You downvoted this but haven't replied. Can you explain why I'm wrong? What is the advantage of it being a unique connector rather than a feature in the cable?
 
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jefhai

macrumors member
Feb 11, 2021
67
94
Maybe Apple will announce a new USB standard... called USB-MagSafe... and allow phone vendors to also use its USB-C + MagSafe connector. USB-C transfer specs using a new MagSafe connector

Apple / Tim Cook’s original argument against the EU requiring a universal connector for phones was that it prevents innovation. This USB-C + MagSafe connector could be the very innovation Apple was hinting at.
 
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