Apple has been granted a patent that covers magnetic coupling connectors that could be used in future iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad. The patent, titled "Techniques for coupling interfaces parts using moveable magnetic elements," describes a technology similar to the MagSafe connectors Apple introduced in 2006 to its MacBook lines that allows the power cord to separate from its host device if too much pressure is applied to it too quickly, as happens when one trips over a power cord attached to a laptop.
The patent application specifically shows a figure that looks like the first generation iPad with a MagSafe power connector. The patent does not, however, describe a MagSafe dock connector. Currently the 30-pin dock connector is how iOS devices receive power, but one can assume Apple could adapt the MagSafe technology to fit dock connectors, or of course, Apple could conceivably eventually eliminate the 30-pin connector and replace all iOS devices with a smaller MagSafe/Thunderbolt hybrid port that would allow for lighting-quick syncing complete with MagSafe's "anti-trip" technology. Interestingly, this is the second patent granted to Apple that refers to a MagSafe-like connector on an iPad. The first was in October 2010.
[via Patently Apple]