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Smartphone Makers, including Apple, are considering Port Free Designs

1 X Cover - Vivo's MagPort


Last week Patently Apple posted an IP report titled "Apple's work on advancing iPhone Waterproofing introduces a New Style of Charging and Data Port" that supported Apple's view of eliminating the traditional penetrating lightning connector; an idea that Apple has shown us in patents going back to 2016 as the patent figures below prove out.


2 - Apple's first patent filing figures show the same idea as yesterday's patent filing for a new charging port for waterproofing purposes


Another patent application that we covered in 2018 revealed Apple's focus on pogo pin style connectivity on an iPhone.


3xx apple patent figure pogo pin design


Bloomberg wrote last summer that "Apple designers eventually hope to remove most of the external ports and buttons on the iPhone, including the charger, according to people familiar with the company’s work. During the development of the iPhone X, Apple weighed removing the wired charging system entirely. That wasn’t feasible at the time because wireless charging was still slower than traditional methods. Including a wireless charger with new iPhones would also significantly raise the price of the phones."


AppleInsider wrote in a report back in June 2018 titled "No Lightning or USB-C in a future iPhone is a very bad idea," that "The only possible benefit of a completely penetration-free iPhone is waterproofing …" which of course is one of the key points made in last week's patent application that we covered.


Now comes the new APEX 2019 from Vivo that introduces their new MagPort as shown in the photos below that is based on pogo pins like Apple has been working on.




An Engadget report revealed a series of photos and the pogo pin port that Vivo calls the MagPort. Vivo is working on a no port, no button form factor as Bloomberg confirmed is a design being contemplated by Apple's design engineers.


Further, Patently Apple noted in a report posted a year ago that Samsung illustrated a pogo pin styled port for a possible future foldable smartphone, as noted in the patent figure below.


5 samsung pogo pin port future smartphone


The Chinese want to keep innovating in waves so as to stay ahead of Apple and to ensure that they can't claim any first-to-market features. China's top four OEMs, Huawei, Vivo, Oppo and Xiaomi are obsessed at beating Apple at every new innovation on the horizon for smartphones. Obviously Vivo introducing the MagPort in a smartphone prototype for analysts and the press like Engadget to see, it's to ensure that they get the credit for this new port idea – even though Apple has had this idea in patent form for years.


While Apple's future AirPower may be great for the convenience of charging multiple devices at one time at home, a pogo pin port could be Apple's solution for fast charging and data transfers. Vivo's product manager Ding Guanli hinted that the final version of MagPort could take advantage of their current 44W Super FlashCharge technology and beyond.


Raising the bar for smartphone water resistance would be a nice side benefit of this style of port and one that most consumers would appreciate.   


In the end, the idea of replacing USB and Lightning ports sounds promising on paper for our smartphones, and perhaps one day soon some smartphone OEM will take the plunge and lead the way. Just don't count on Apple being first to the table.


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