Is a New Magsafe Data Cable Going To Replace Apple's 30-Pin Connector?

The idea of Apple moving to Magsafe charging for iOS devices has been aired before, but the lack of data transfer stymied such plans. Now, however, an Apple patent suggests that future Magsafe connectors will be able to shift data. Bye bye 30-pin connector?

Using "coded magnets" the cable described in the patent can simultanoeuly charge a device and shift information, too. According to Apple Insider:

The solution proposed by Apple is a new universal cable, much like the existing 30-pin iPod connector, but one that features programmable magnets. These coded magnets, found inside both the cable and the portable device, would share identifying information on the device with the cable.

By sharing information from the magnets about the device, the cable could appropriately connect to it and provide the correct number of pins. The application describes a controller that would repurpose one or more of the pins on a cable to connect certain communication channels.

"The magnets (would) create a universal port that detects the coded magnet 'signature' of a particular cable type and reconfigures itself accordingly," the filing reads.

The patent also suggests that the cable could handle audio. While that's not terribly exciting — and might be a real headache in terms of using third-party headphones — it does have one thing in its favor. If the only port on an iOS device was a Magsafe connection, it would be possible to compoletely seal the device. Anybody for a waterproof iPhone?

Whether much will come of the patent is up for debate. Moving to an entirely different connection for all iOS devices would create some fairly irritating legacy issues, but maybe the benefits would be worth it. [Apple Insider; Image: Travis Isaacs]