It’s patent time again, and the latest discovery by those eagle-eyed patent-watchers at AppleInsider have spied a new application that hints at an improved method of charging and syncing our mobile devices.

The patent, originally filed all the way back in 2001 and recently improved upon, suggests Apple’s boffins are keen to reduce the number cables and connectors we use for our mobile devices – that’s Macbooks, iPhones, iPads and iPod touches. The old-fashioned click wheel iPods should also be able to get in on the action…

Entitled “Power Adapters for Powering and/or Charging Peripheral Devices,” the patent application speaks of “improved techniques for powering and/or charging peripheral devices through a data transmission lines.” What that boils down to is a single cable running to a power outlet. This cable carries both power and data, meaning an iDevice could be plugged into that same cable and receive power, while still being able to sync with a Mac.

“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,” the filing reads. “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).”

It’s just another move by the Cupertino engineers to reduce the number of cables and plugs we need in order to juice up and synchronise all our hardware. With iOS 5 bringing WiFi syncing to the table, hopefully the days of needing a cable to move music and apps is a thing of the past. But there may always be a time when moving huge amounts of data isn’t really suited to the magic of wireless technology.

Does this mean we’re all going to need to buy new cables again?

  • bc

    “This cable carries both power and data, meaning an iDevice could be plugged into that same cable and receive power, while still being able to sync with a Mac.”

    I’m a little confused. The cable that came with my iPhone already carries power and transmits data at the same time. So did the cable that came with my 1st iPod. I’m guessing this is some new/improved tech, but it’s not clear how it’s going to be better.