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Patent Application Hints MSFT is Working on Own MagSafe

By - Source: via SlashGear | B 18 comments

Is Microsoft looking to make a MagSafe of its own?

Apple's line of Mac laptops all sport the same MagSafe magnetic adapter. First introduced in 2006 with the MacBook Pro, the magnetic power cord has been present in every Apple notebook since and is seen as a uniquely Apple feature. However, Apple could soon have some company in the magnetic power cord territory as a newly public patent application seems to suggest that Microsoft could be out to design something similar.

 

The application was filed last year and describes a connector with one or more magnetic attractors that is capable of delivering both power and data to a device. Of course, Apple's MagSafe doesn't deliver data, just power, but we can't imagine Cupertino will be too pleased with Redmond moving in on what it no doubt believes is Apple turf.

Of course, as we all know only too well, while a patent application can offer some indication as to what kind of products a company is planning, this isn't always the case and it's not uncommon for companies to file for a patent only to let it sit gather dust for years after it's granted.

SlashGear points out that Apple applied for a similar patent a few years back, so Microsoft's application may not even be successful. The Apple patent application in question was filed in 2008 and granted in November of 2010. It describes a single magnetic connector cable capable of supplying both power and data to a mobile computing or other type of device using a single connection.

Further Reading

Microsoft Patent Application - USPTO

Apple Patent - USPTO

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Top Comments
  • 15 Hide
    alidan , June 16, 2012 6:47 PM
    i have a deep fryer that is old as hell that has a magnetic power source... how is this pattentable?
  • 10 Hide
    bison88 , June 16, 2012 9:43 PM
    john_4Yet another copy of Apple by MS.



    You don't hear PC users saying, "Yet another copy of MS's idea by Apple" when Apple releases a product similar to one of Microsoft's ( i.e. the iPad vs the Tablet PC 10 years ago). Don't see why Apple fanboys find a reason to constantly flick there nose at everything Microsoft does.
Other Comments
  • 15 Hide
    alidan , June 16, 2012 6:47 PM
    i have a deep fryer that is old as hell that has a magnetic power source... how is this pattentable?
  • Display all 18 comments.
  • 4 Hide
    shin0bi272 , June 16, 2012 7:22 PM
    Me personally Id rather have wireless charging. Get me a power mat with a cooling fan in it and take my money.
  • 10 Hide
    bison88 , June 16, 2012 9:43 PM
    john_4Yet another copy of Apple by MS.



    You don't hear PC users saying, "Yet another copy of MS's idea by Apple" when Apple releases a product similar to one of Microsoft's ( i.e. the iPad vs the Tablet PC 10 years ago). Don't see why Apple fanboys find a reason to constantly flick there nose at everything Microsoft does.
  • 3 Hide
    balister , June 16, 2012 9:59 PM
    john_4Yet another copy of Apple by MS.


    Which that idea from Apple was copied from someone else.
  • 2 Hide
    jojesa , June 16, 2012 10:17 PM
    bison88You don't hear PC users saying, "Yet another copy of MS's idea by Apple" when Apple releases a product similar to one of Microsoft's ( i.e. the iPad vs the Tablet PC 10 years ago). Don't see why Apple fanboys find a reason to constantly flick there nose at everything Microsoft does.

    Hey Bison, pay no mind to the benighted comment.. you have to understand that they only understand stuff from their cult. They don't know that there are other things in their world besides Apple products.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , June 16, 2012 10:33 PM
    bison88You don't hear PC users saying, "Yet another copy of MS's idea by Apple" when Apple releases a product similar to one of Microsoft's ( i.e. the iPad vs the Tablet PC 10 years ago).

    Not to dispute the trollishness of the original comment, but Apple's Newton came out nearly 10 years before that . . .

    Don't see why Apple fanboys find a reason to constantly flick there nose at everything Microsoft does.

    For much the same reason Windows fanboys find reasons to constantly sneer at everything Apple does. Some people just won't grow up. While the rest of us who are fanboys of all good technology regardless of the logo on it just ignore it and move on.

    (typing this on my Macbook, but the Windows installs in this room outnumber OS X 3:1)
  • -3 Hide
    11796pcs , June 17, 2012 12:12 AM
    Quote:
    Some people just won't grow up.

    The problem is that Apple fanboys are always bringing this stuff up and starting the argument. If someone talks about their PC to an Apple fan 90% of the time the Apple fan will start to talk about how they believe Apple is superior. The opposite however rarely takes place. One thing I don't understand is why Microsoft is doing this in the first place. I thought they didn't desire to make hardware. Every time Microsoft releases hardware I feel like ripping my hair out. Their job should always be software and every time they release something hardware-based it's always trash.
  • -3 Hide
    DjEaZy , June 17, 2012 12:27 AM
    ... well... if you can not innovate, you imitate...
  • -1 Hide
    DRosencraft , June 17, 2012 12:36 AM
    So, getting back to the topic of the article and not the fanboy childish arguing... This is an interesting idea that could theoretically make for smaller connectors. I imagine there is a bit of working to do to keep the magnets from interfering with data transmissions. The biggest problem would be commercialization. We already see the trouble of Thunderbolt, you have to imagine that this would compete with Thunderbolt and USB. It's interesting, but I don't know that we need another connection thrown out there.
  • 2 Hide
    halcyon , June 17, 2012 3:12 AM
    Magsafe is a good idea, no matter who originated it. Seems dumb that you'd have to have an Apple laptop to get it. I hope MS gets the patent and licenses its to PC makers. i like Apple fine but their stuff is expensive.
  • -1 Hide
    Vladislaus , June 17, 2012 1:24 PM
    john_4Yet another copy of Apple by MS.

    Even though the magsafe was the first magnetically attached connector on computers, It wasn't the first time that this technology was used. And this represents what is wrong with the patent system. Apple creates magsafe and is able to patent it because is directed towards computers. Now Microsoft can also apply a patent of his own because besides power is also transmits data. The problem is that only the magnetically attached connector should receive a patent irrelevant if it's used for power, data or whatever. Perhaps I should also apply a patent for a magnetically attached connector that transmits only data.
  • 0 Hide
    DRosencraft , June 17, 2012 5:12 PM
    Let's see if I can shed some light on the whole patent issue as it stands;
    There are roughly three types of patents one can apply for - utility, design, and plant. Plant is relatively special, it has to do with breeding new or unique plants, like a new rose/lily hybrid or something. Utility is what most people tend to think of, which is a completely new invention (a completely new item or way of doing something). The bulk of patents, however, and the bulk of these lawsuits, tend to be design patents. These are patents based on the implementation of an idea, rather than the idea itself (the various types of computer cases instead of the idea of a computer case itself). So, in this case, the use of a magnet as a connector was a utility patent back from whoever and whenever the idea was first patented. This patent here, and similarly the Apple one, are design patents. This is a legitimately patenable idea, IMO. The same way PCI, FireWire, USB, eSata, Thunderbolt, are all patented and must be licensed for use, it makes sense for somethng like this to patented. It is neither simple, obvious, or ubiquitous.
  • -1 Hide
    rantoc , June 17, 2012 5:19 PM
    How is it moving into Apple territory? If it were the world first magnetic power interface then sure, now its not. This can only be upsetting for a deluded Apple fan who believes everything "their" company puts out is their innovation.
  • 0 Hide
    Vladislaus , June 17, 2012 7:43 PM
    DjEaZy... well... if you can not innovate, you imitate...

    Like Apple did with the GUI or the Dock and so on?
  • 0 Hide
    Vladislaus , June 17, 2012 7:48 PM
    halcyonMagsafe is a good idea, no matter who originated it. Seems dumb that you'd have to have an Apple laptop to get it. I hope MS gets the patent and licenses its to PC makers. i like Apple fine but their stuff is expensive.

    It is annoying that Apple doesn't license it's magsafe connector to anyone, including third party manufacturers that build power bricks for Apple computers. This is why no one else makes a computer with one.
  • 0 Hide
    shardey , June 17, 2012 7:49 PM
    Doesn't Apple own the patent for a power cable that has a magnetic connection? If so, then this means a lawsuit down the road.
  • 2 Hide
    back_by_demand , June 18, 2012 12:31 AM
    colitisNot to dispute the trollishness of the original comment, but Apple's Newton came out nearly 10 years before that . . .

    Not to split hairs, but the Netwon wasn't a tablet, it was a PDA
    ...
    And just to push the point even more, it wasn't even the first PDA, that honour falls to Psion Organiser
    ...
    This is the part where Apple fans now say that the PDA was actually invented by Apple because the term PDA was first used by John Sculley in 1992, even though devices by many companies had already existed for years
    ...
    Apple have a good thing going, they make some pretty sweet products, but credit where it is due to the people that came before them that did the actual inventing, making it white, thin and having a letter "i" at the beginning is not innovation.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 19, 2012 11:19 PM
    That actually looks like the connector that joins the newly announced Microsoft Surface to its keyboard/cover