A new patent application was discovered by AppleInsider that suggests Apple is focusing itself on MagSafe connectors once again. The application references a series of “coded magnets” that would be found in both the connector and the associated device.
This new universal cable with programmable magnets would allow Apple to customize the interaction between device and cable. Apple has always been good about making cables that work with a variety of devices, but with this proposed technology they could have a single cable that could actually customize itself based on the devices it was connected to. Combine all of that with the safety and convenience of the MagSafe connection (anybody who has ever had their toddler grab at their MacBook Pro power cable while it is charging on a table and enjoyed the cable effortlessly disconnecting itself instead of the laptop sliding off and crashing to the floor will be cheering at this point) and you have a winning idea that I hope we see included in the next generation of Apple devices.
The patent also covers a magnet-powered headphone connector which would be a real joy. I can only presume that there would be adapters available to make any standard headphones work with your device, otherwise it would be a real cash-cow for Apple if you could only use their accessories. I trust that Apple will agree that fully proprietary approach is a mistake and just enjoy the revenue generated from the adapters.
One really interesting note by AppleInsider is that the universal use of MagSafe connectors would mean that future devices could be made much more water resistant with proper seals and exposure-alerting sensors. This may seem like a trivial thing for some of you with reactions that indicate people worried about water resistance could just buy a case to accommodate those concerns. Now for the rest of us who may not be deep sea divers but have had their phone sitting on a desk and then been a little clumsy and spilled their coffee beside it can better understand and appreciate this concept. If moisture hitting smartphones was rare, manufacturers wouldn’t have started putting indicators inside their devices to determine if they have ever been wet.