Apple might have nixed the popular MagSafe connector in its new MacBooks, but it could stage a comeback, if a recent patent filing is any indication.
The iPhone maker has applied for a new patent on a technology it calls a "Magnetic Adapter." The device, basically a dongle, would essentially bring back magnetic functionality to the USB-C port found on the latest MacBook and MacBook Pro.
According to the patent, which was earlier reported on by Mashable, Apple's dongle would plug into a USB-C port in a MacBook or MacBook Pro. On the other end, you'll find a connector where you'd attach the magnetic MagSafe. The dongle would sit snugly into the USB-C port, but the your charger cable could be quickly removed via the magnet.
Apple's latest notebooks, the MacBook and MacBook Pro, ditched the company's MagSafe adapter in favor of USB-C. While the move was criticized by some old-time Apple fans with bundles of MagSafe connectors, others viewed it as Apple accepting an industry standard -- something the company has been loath to do in the past.
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Still, the MagSafe, which came with a slew of MacBooks over the years, has been well-received. The technology's magnetic breakaway technology meant that when you tripped over the charging cable, it wouldn't stubbornly stick in the machine and send your notebook flying off the desk to its demise on the floor. Instead, the cable would easily break away and your MacBook would sit safely on the desk.
Apple apparently still believes that MagSafe could be an attractive technology for its customers. But it's also acknowledging in the patent that USB-C is an industry standard and one that the company likely won't be able -- or willing -- to give up in the coming years. A dongle with a magnetic breakaway could be the best middle ground.
That said, like other big tech companies, Apple files for patents all the time, and this dongle could end up never seeing the light of day. It's also unclear whether Apple would bundle the dongle with its MacBooks or sell them separately.
But it's at least good to see Apple thinking magnetically again.
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