The continuation patent, published on October 7th 2010 by the US Patent and Trademark Office, clearly depicts what looks like an iPhone / iPod touch / iPad with figure 62 revealing what appears to be a power connector. This power connector, expanded upon in greater detail in further diagrams, depicts what appears to be, according to Patently Apple, a MagSafe Power Port. And here at TUAW, we'll concur. It does look remarkably like a MagSafe Power Port.
The MagSafe power adapter and port (first introduced in 2006 and then quietly updated in April of this year), are designed to connect the power cable to your MacBook / Pro / Air magnetically, allowing for a solid connection, but providing an immediate disconnection if the power cord is strongly pulled on. The idea is to stop your MacBook from flying off the table when you accidentally trip over the power cord.
I can't imagine Apple introducing a lone power port for the iPad, but I can see the advantage in adding the MagSafe's magnetic qualities to, say, the 30-pin connector currently used with all iPods, iPhones and iPads. What do you think, readers? I know I've yanked my iPhone off the desk by inadvertently pulling on the 30-pin connector cable. A release mechanism like the MagSafe would certainly come in handy.
Apple first filed this patent in June of this year. With this follow up continuation patent being filed in October, Patently Apple seems to suggest that Apple maybe trying to rush through the patent for an upcoming product release. But, with patents, it's hard to know whether these ideas will actually see the light of day in released products. It could just be another case of Apple securing its intellectual property.