Apple Patent Shows All-in-One MagSafe Cable
An Apple patent getting a lot of notice today shows a design for a new all-in-one cable with a MagSafe connector for power, data and video. AppleInsider is highlighting the patent,
first revealed last year, which describes how USB, DVI and Ethernet data could be transferred over a fiber optic cable to a laptop or mobile device inside the same wire as the power connection. Submitted a year before Intel announced its Light Peak technology, the patent suggests that Apple is working on its own alternative way of connecting peripherals to smaller devices.
Given the popularity of the iPad and the new MacBook Air, Apple is putting increasing focus on lighter, slimmer devices. The case of the MBA, for example, had to be made wider than it otherwise would have been in order to make it large enough to fit a USB connector. Apple has long been rumored to have plans to use Intel's Light Peak optical bus
to replace USB and video ports. What the design in the Apple patent offers that's unique is a way of also combining power, allowing Mac OS X as well as iOS devices to charge as well as connect to peripherals like external drives, printers or HD monitors all through a single cable. Patently Apple first discovered the application
back in December of last year, but it's getting renewed attention after AppleInsider, apparently independently, discovered the patent today.
It's possible that this new cable would be used in only smaller devices while desktops and larger laptops would use Light Peak. And while Apple sometimes just "parks" patents in order to keep competitors from profiting from such an innovation, the idea of a single cable replacing not only power, video and USB but also the Dock Connector seems like a perfect fit with Apple's new, slim industrial design.