A new supply chain report has resurrected the old MagSafe on iPad Pro rumor, but the implementation details aren’t clear.
Apple’s iPad Pro is already at the limits of design with its all-screen display and flat sides. Future models could tweak this mature design by adding more capabilities like MagSafe charging, but such changes may prove difficult.
According to a supply chain source speaking to MacRumors, Apple could include MagSafe charging in the 2024 iPad Pro update. It isn’t clear if this is the iPhone’s version of MagSafe or the Mac’s.
Rumors have previously pointed to Apple adding a glass back to the iPad lineup, which would enable wireless charging via MagSafe similar to iPhone. However, that rumor is from 2021 and never came to pass.
Maybe not the iPhone kind of MagSafe
Changing the iPad back from aluminum to glass would increase the tablet’s weight significantly and reduce its durability. Without delving too much into brittle failure, ductile failure, and material science, the glass sandwich design for iPhone works because it’s a much smaller device utilizing less glass.
All of these factors point very clearly to something else other than conventional iPhone MagSafe stands. The iPad Pro, especially the larger 12.9-inch model, is much bigger and heavier than an iPhone. Thus, stands built for an iPhone likely won’t support the size and weight of a tablet.
New MagSafe accessories specific to iPads would need to be made, which may be compatible with iPhones — but it’s far too early to tell. It is doubtful it would work the other way around.
The iPhone MagSafe style seems less likely, given the weight and durability issues of going all glass on the iPad Pro. Apple may offer a keyboard case for iPad, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still expected to be a handheld device where weight is a factor.
The case for Mac’s MagSafe
Apple’s MacBooks have a type of MagSafe that uses magnets to align charging pins to a connector. This method ensures the cable stays connected unless a moderate amount of force is applied, like if someone trips over the cable, to ensure the laptop remains safe.
The iPad Pro already utilizes a pin connector on the device’s rear. It aligns with accessories like the Magic Keyboard to pass power and the keyboard/trackpad connection through.
Apple could expand on this connector in the 2024 model for more advanced charging and accessories. A rumored aluminum version of the Magic Keyboard for iPad leans the MagSafe rumor in this direction.
The existing, underutilized iPad connector is called a Smart Connector, but a revamped version that enables 65W power passthrough and more robust data options could easily earn the MagSafe moniker.
Apple is expected to reveal a series of new iPads in early 2024. A new version of MagSafe built for iPad could debut alongside OLED displays and an updated Magic Keyboard.