Technology

Apple Explores Bringing Back MagSafe Chargers With Improvements

Apple MagSafe Chargers
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Apple disappointed many people when it replaced the MagSafe connector with USB Type-C chargers to make life easier for Mac users. However, many Mac owners are still using the older connector. Realizing its popularity, it seems the Cupertino, Calif.-based smartphone maker is revisiting its decision and may bring back MagSafe chargers, but with some changes.

Offering a safer charging option

The last time MagSafe was part of an Apple’s product package was in 2017 when the MacBook Air was launched. The company is probably now looking for a way to bring back the magnetic charger after addressing its inherent issues.

Apple received a new patent first spotted by PatentlyApple for a “Smart charging system for portable electronic devices.” The patent published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office describes a “smart charging system [which] includes a magnetized connector and a charging component that can be configured to dynamically attract and repel the connector to and from the portable electronic device.”

Image Source: USPTO (screenshot)

Further, the patent states there are fewer chances of a connector being damaged since the charging component can attract and repel the connector to and from the portable electronic device. In the event of a sudden jolt, the connector will quickly detach from the device.

Additionally, the patent states that Apple’s next magnetic charger will be compatible with multiple devices ranging from a smartwatch to tablets and personal computers. However, the purpose of the charger will only be to charge the device and will not double as a data transfer cable.

Why MagSafe chargers were inefficient

In the patent application, Apple says magnetic connectors like MagSafe were introduced to address the problem of unsafe cable disconnections. For instance, power cords could damage laptops, tablets and phones if they are unplugged when the device falls accidentally.

Interestingly, the company acknowledges the downside of MagSafe solutions, saying that magnetic connectors such as 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.”

Further, the company notes that solutions like MagSafe were not perfect because they lead to power being wasted. The connector had a light which turns orange when the device is connected and charging and green when fully charged. Apple notes that in an ideal scenario, the constant light would not be the solution. Instead, the company must develop another way for users to get information about the charging status

Apparently, some points in Apple’s latest patent also reference a haptic device connected to the magnetic connector, which would alert the user whether or not the charger is connected to the device properly.

This new patent is enough to raise excitement among Apple fans, but it is worth noting that not all patented technology ends up entering production. There is a very good chance Apple will not actually work on such a product.

In need of a breakthrough product

Apple did give up on its much-anticipated AirPower Charging Mat, apparently due to its high standards of product design. Last week, TechCrunch reported that the project was canceled as it did not meet Apple’s “high standards,” citing the company’s vice president of hardware engineering, Dan Riccio. However, there were claims that Apple might have just delayed the project rather than axing it completely.

AirPower was expected to charge devices “regardless of their position” on the mat. Since the product is now officially canceled, Apple is in dire need of another device or technology which places it back above all other tech firms. A MagSafe-like product could give it an edge, although Apple would need a bigger product to reinstate its supremacy.

While other companies are experimenting with foldable phones, Apple has yet to hop on the bandwagon. On that note, the company might have something to surprise its fans, according to Japanese blog Mac Otakara. According to the blog, Apple will launch at least five new iPhones this year. In addition to updates to the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR, there could be 6.1-inch and 6.5-inch models with OLED displays.

These new iPhones will reportedly feature a refined chassis and larger sensors in the triple-lens camera setup. Further, the new iPhones could also come with reverse wireless charging and ship with an 18W Lightning-to-USB-C fast charger.

Apple’s arch-rival Samsung has already launched four Galaxy S10 models this year, and rumors suggest there will be at least four Galaxy Note 10 models as well. Thus, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Apple also releases more than three iPhone models this year. However, the chance of Apple launching a 5G iPhone this year is small.