Apple Patents Universal Multi-Device Power Adapter
Lugging around a bunch of different power adapters for all of your electronic devices can be a real drag. Even though iPhone owners who happen to have an iPad can bring one USB power plug, only one device can be charged up at a time. All this could be set to change if a new Apple patent discovered by Patently Apple comes to fruition.
The system Apple proposes involves an intelligent power adapter, that would give the proper amount of voltage to multiple devices at once. One plug would go into an AC outlet, while several devices are connected by various means to the main unit, which automatically determines which units are compatible for charging.
Some versions of the invention feature the main power adapter with multiple connections, while others indicate a single output cable with multiple connectors on the other end. Either way, these power cables are illustrated with connections to an iPod and a notebook computer. Apple would likely offer any intelligent power adapter with standard dock connector cables along with MagSafe connectors, which currently are installed on notebook power cords. These special connectors are magnetically attached, so the plug detaches harmlessly when you trip over the cable.
Currently every manufacturer ships their devices with a unique charger. Even Apple makes several different kinds of chargers for different devices. A smarter adapter could replace many of these individual accessories, saving space, money and effort in the process. The patent was originally filed in the first half of 2010 and credited to John Field, Aleksandar Pance and Nicholas Rundle.