Apple Patent Hints at Data Via MagSafe Connector

Apple was recently awarded a patent that hints the company may be planning to use its MagSafe connector to charge your laptop and transfer data optically at the same time. The patent describes a system that sounds strikingly similar to Intel’s Light Peak technology, and could potentially cut the number of cables users connect to their computer down to one.

Depending on how Apple implements its patent, the company could ship computers with a charger plug that also includes video, network, USB and other ports that all connect via optic fibers in the charger cable. The patent also describes using the system for rapid recharging, and also covers using the MagSafe connector with mobile devices — which could be a hint that Apple will be dropping the Dock connector port that’s been part of nearly every iPod the company has shipped.

Future MagSafe connectors may handle data and power

Apple may be planning on making its new charger system as versatile as possible, too. The patent also mentions using he charger with wall and car outlets, along with other types of outlets. That doesn’t mean, however, that Apple is planning on shipping chargers with multiple connectors. Instead, it’s more likely a move to keep on top of the various ways the chargers might be used.

The patent doesn’t state if Apple will use its own optical data technology, or rely on Intel’s Light Peak. Apple was rumored to have gone to Intel with the Light Peak concept, so it’s possible the two companies have been working together.

There’s no word on when — or if — Apple will add data support to its MagSafe connector. Since the company doesn’t talk about rumors or unannounced products, MacBook and iPhone owners will have to wait and see what Apple has in store.

[Thanks to Patently Apple for the heads up.]