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Don’t say goodbye to the MagSafe charger just yet

Published Apr 5th, 2017 4:01PM EDT
Magsafe vs USB-C: Adapter
Image: USPTO

Apple has been clear that it thinks USB-C is the future. You don’t get the option of buying a new MacBook without USB-C ports; the only question is if you want one, two, or four.

Since USB-C allows charging as well as data transfer, everyone assumed that the coming of USB-C meant the end of Apple’s legendary MagSafe charger. But according to an Apple patent recently uncovered by Mashable, Apple could be looking at a way to merge the two.

The patent, filed early last year, is for an adapter that would convert the original MagSafe adapter to USB-C. Making a dongle to use an old accessory on a new laptop isn’t a new move — Apple is the master of dongles, after all — but the exciting thing here is that MagSafe could come to a bunch of products that aren’t MacBooks.

After all, USB-C is a universal standard that we’ve already seen on smartphones, laptops, monitors, speakers, headphones, and anything else that needs charging or data. In the patent filing, Apple lists “portable computing devices, tablet computers, desktop computers, laptops, all-in-one computers, wearable computing devices, cell phones, smart phones, media phones, storage devices, portable media players, navigation systems, monitors, power supplies, adapters, remote control devices, chargers, and other devices” as potential beneficiaries. So, uh, not an exhaustive list at all.

It’s a little puzzling that Apple has chosen the old MagSafe design for the patent, rather than the newer MagSafe 2, but perhaps the barrel design works better. It’s also possible that despite the grand language of the patent, Apple is only intending on this being an adapter for old MacBook chargers, to help ease the pain of upgrading to a new laptop.