Apple is known to stockpile patents in the hopes of implementing new technologies in the (hopefully) near future. Reportedly, the company has a whopping “20K worldwide (non-expired) grants and around 10K worldwide pending applications” as of January 2016. And they just added another patent to that list…one that will change the future of charging and data transfer.
Today Apple was granted a new patent for something we didn’t know we needed…until we saw it. Listed as U.S. Patent No. 9,300,083, it is detailed as a “Stackable magnetically-retained connector interface”, and appears to be a new way that users can charge and use multiple accessories through a single port.
The patent showcases two different designs for stacking: One design has circular charging pucks (similar to those used by the Apple Watch) and the other has slightly flattened charging cords that resemble the MagSafe power connector used by MacBooks. Both types would enable the user to transfer both power and data through the connection.
Online sources state that this new patent appears to be related to the Smart Connector. Apple debuted the Smart Connector alongside the iPad Pro, thus giving the iPad more versatility and functionality (like connecting with Apple’s Smart Keyboard). And though the patent doesn’t directly state that it is related to this device, it seems as entirely possible. The Smart Connector is still a new technology for Apple users, and is currently available on only both of the iPad Pro models.
However, not much is known about the plans for this patent (as is the case with most Apple patents). The company is known to file for patents early on with the hope of implementing these new technologies and designs in future models. Apple recently acquired other patents as well: one for a LiquidMetal home button, another for 3D mapping via LiDAR technology, and even one for slick magnetically detachable earbuds. What will Apple patent next?