Over a year ago Apple filed a patent application for adding a MagSafe-like connector to iOS devices. Unfortunately, their newly-granted patent may sound like MagSafe's coming to iPads and iPhones—but this isn't it.
You see, listed in the US Patent and Trademark Office's 20 approved patents yesterday for Apple, the magnetic connector's usage applies to "a portable device such as a laptop, tablet computer, cell phone, media player, or the like." Nowhere in the patent is iOS device compatibility mentioned—though it's definitely suggested.
It's not even definite that this patent application is for the MagSafe, with the document stating the patent approval "may be a power connector such as the MagSafe," and "the pin layout may correspond to the pin layout of the MagSafe."
Instead, the technology is repeatedly referred to as a "magnetic coupling," with "housings" being referred to as having magnetic qualities and "cooperating" with another housing "to form an enclosure of the electronic device." Nowhere does the patent application say this will be specifically for charging devices, so we may be looking at MagSafe-like qualities being added to ports, such as the Thunderbolt—though admittedly it does seem more sensible for this to be related to everyone's first thought, of iOS devices receiving MagSafe charging ports. I certainly hope that's the case, anyway. [US Patent and Trademark Office via Patently Apple via Engadget]