Apple has Won a Patent for a Next-Gen MagSafe Connector Rumored to be coming to M1X MacBooks this Fall
Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple a patent that relates to a future version of the MagSafe connector that has been rumored to be coming to next-gen M1X MacBooks this fall. While the patent covers the MagSafe connector for the new iMacs, the patent is about the MagSafe connector in general and not for one specific application.
Apple's granted patent covers MagSafe connector systems that can be easy to use, can be used to make connections in a small area, can provide a stable and consistent connection, can provide good impedance matching, and can provide a good user experience. Various embodiments of the present invention can provide connector systems for conveying high-speed signals.
An illustrative embodiment of the present invention can provide a connector system including a connector insert and a connector receptacle. The connector insert can include a center conductor having a central recess at a front leading edge and an outer barrel. An outer barrel can terminate in a tulip-shaped connector around the recessed portion of the center conductor.
A housing can be formed around the barrel behind the tulip-shaped contact. The housing can include one or more magnets on at least one side of the barrel. In these and other embodiments of the present invention, the one or more magnets can be on at least two sides of the barrel. The two sides can be opposite sides. In these and other embodiments of the present invention, the one or more magnets can be positioned concentrically around the barrel.
For example, one or more magnets can be positioned concentrically around the barrel. The one or more magnets can have a protective layer on one or more sides. Instead of magnets, one or more ferromagnetic portions can be used in these and other configurations, or a combination of magnets and ferromagnetic pieces can be used. The center conductor and the outer barrel can terminate in conductors in a cable. The cable can be insulated. The cable can be protected with a strain relief.
The connector receptacle can include a housing supporting a ground contact. The magnet or magnets of the connector insert can be attracted to the ground contact. The ground contact can have a passage for a pin having a concentric insulating layer. The passage in the ground contact can also accept the tulip of the connector insert to provide a ground path. The pin can be inserted in the recess of the center conductor. This penetrating connection can stand in contrast to other connectors where a surface connection can be made. The pin can terminate on a board in an electronic device. The ground contact can also terminate on the board.
This connector system can be easy to use. Specifically, the magnet in the connector insert can be attracted to the ground contact in the connector receptacle. The pin of the connector receptacle can penetrate the center conductor of the connector insert without the need of turning or tightening. The magnet or magnets can fix a position to the ground contact of the connector receptacle in a consistent and stable manner. The penetration of the pin into the center conductor of the connector insert can provide a signal path having good impedance matching. The magnetic attraction of the connector insert to the connector receptacle can provide a good user experience.
Another illustrative embodiment of the present invention can provide a connector system including a plug connector and a connector receptacle. The plug connector can include an enclosure including a front plug enclosure and an enclosure back body. The plug enclosure can include a notch. This notch can retain a gasket or O-ring. A signal pin can include a pin tip and a connecting portion. The signal pin can be insulated from the plug enclosure and enclosure back body by insulating housings. A gasket or O-ring can be placed in a recess of one of the insulating housings to form a seal between the insulating housings to reduce moisture ingress into the plug connector.
Below is just a sampling of Apple's next-gen MagSafe connector.
Apple never limits an invention to one application and MagSafe is no different. Apple notes that embodiments of the present invention can provide connector receptacles and connector inserts that can be located in, and can connect to, various types of devices, such as 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, video delivery systems, test systems, adapters, remote control devices, chargers, and other devices.
In various embodiments of the present invention, interconnect paths provided by these connector inserts and connector receptacles can be used to convey power, ground, signals, test points, and other voltage, current, data, or other information.
There are a total of 31 patent figures illustrating various implementations and variations of what the next generation of MagSafe could include. To drill down into the details, see granted patent 11,121,502 that was originally filed back in March 2020.
Apple lists two inventors: Darshan Kasar, Technical Lead, Product Design; and Brian Joseph, Director, Instrument Engineering.