Apple is Working on an All-In-One Data & Power Cable for Your Mac & iOS Devices

Apple is Working on an All-In-One Data & Power Cable for Your Mac & iOS Devices

When I go on vacation and I want to take my notebook and iOS devices with me, I have to pack a bunch of white cables into my case — all of which seem to be tangled up with each other by the time I take them out again. However, Apple is developing a universal all-in-one data & power cable that will charge both your Mac and your iOS devices, and allow you to transfer data between them.

A patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reveals Apple’s work on “Power Adapters for Powering and/or Charging Peripheral Devices,” that are compatible with both Macs and iOS devices.

The filing details “improved techniques for powering and/or charging peripheral devices through data transmission lines.” The illustrations that accompany the filling demonstrate how the cable might work with mobile devices, such as the iPhone or iPad, and computers.

Apple is Working on an All-In-One Data & Power Cable for Your Mac & iOS Devices

Apple explains the benefits of an all-in-one solution:

“It would be desirable to remove the total number of connections made to a peripheral device so as to reduce the number of connectors and cables needed to operate the peripheral device. By reducing the number of connectors and cables, the peripheral size and the cost of the product may be decreased as well as the ease of use of the peripheral device may be improved (less cables to tote around).”

The solution also boasts a power adapter with a built-in data port, which allows you to plug both your iPad and your Mac into the same power outlet, and then transfer data between the two while they’re charging. This negates the need for a separate USB cable for your iOS device.

Would you like to see an all-in-one charging a data transfer solution from Apple?

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  • MuggyLittleC

    “allows you to plug both your iPad and your Mac into the same power outlet, and then transfer data between the two while they’re charging. This negates the need for a separate USB cable for your iOS device.”

    Please, someone correct me if I’m wrong. But wouldn’t this require you to plug your Macbook into the adaptor, via a Magsafe cable. Then plug your iPad into the adaptor, via a USB cable. 2 cables?

    OR, the current system. Charge your Macbook via Magsafe cable, plug your iPad into Macbook via a USB cable (enabling charging and data transfer). 2 cables?

    Seems like they’ve solved nothing!?

  • MacGoo

    I’m not sure what they’re saying either – this wouldn’t reduce the number of cables YOU have to carry. It would simply unify the current power cables (Magsafe and USB) into one (likely Thunderbolt). So in a nutshell, this does next to nothing for consumers (other than making Apple cables universal for data/power). But it does simplify the SKUs that Apple must produce for power and data transfer (from 5-6 SKUs down to 1 – much more simple and probably significantly cheaper).

  • Mystakill

    It also means that you’ll have to move both devices closer to the power adapter.  The current daisy-chaining method allows you to increase the distance from the wall wart, rather than sitting right next to it.

    This is stupid…

  • MacGoo

    My guess is that both options would be available – eventually Apple intends for Thunderbolt to replace all other connections on Macs. That makes room for 5 connections (taking into account the current Macbook Pro and the Power, Firewire, Thunderbolt and 2 USB ports this would be replacing). Chances are Apple won’t include that many Thunderbolt ports, but you can bet on 3 or so. So daisy chaining should still be doable.

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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