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Apple Magsafe Patent to Keep out 3rd parties?

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My old iBook’s power adapter has been the unfortunate victim of my feline friend’s wire-chewing habits, which I cannot figure out how to stop. Of course, this was after the original Apple-designed adapter was replaced with a much less expensive one. The Apple adapter suffered the very popular problem of fraying and burning from the inside out after casual use, before the cat could even get to it. The 3rd party one worked well, until furball made it lunch. I am glad that the 3rd party adapters that sells for iBooks and Powerbooks only cost $35, while Apple’s are an outrageous price, sometimes $80!

Apple has patented their new MagSafe design, and it’s really cool, but what will this mean for 3rd party adapters? Can other companies copy the design to make replacement power adapters for Apple’s computers? If the MagSafe adapters are just as bad as mine was, will it fray after a year of use, just out of standard warranty? I want to be able to buy a $35 adapter someday, if my cat chews on the existing one. Apple would be wise to not prevent that. The adapter is $80 on the store online, and there are reports of the same kinds of damage (fraying, weakening, breaking) as the old power adapters. There aren’t any 3rd party adaptors yet, as far as I can tell. Is Apple trying to make sure it stays that way?

(And, no, I will not be replacing or getting rid of the cat. Not an option. Any suggestions, short of hurting her, to get her to stop the wire chewing?)

30 Responses to “Apple Magsafe Patent to Keep out 3rd parties?”

  1. I found this link while searching for an Auto Air adapter with a Magsafe connector, and after reading through the responses I have decided that if I want to be a real MAC user i need to get a cat and train it to stay away from my power cords.

    My sister used the white vinegar trick and it seem to work.

  2. pete watson

    My new ibook has the magsafe connection wich I love, but the dog ended up getting to it and chewing it up in the middle..

    has anyone ever attempted splicing a cord like this back together or know of any video post that are up on the web of it being done.

    I already bought a new cord, but it would be great if I could fix the old one as a back up.

  3. Anyone have a cat that chews on blinds? My cat likes to chew on them. Most annoying: she is somehow bending in the last section of them on each side of the vertical-running strings. I sprayed bitter citrus and showed it to her…and she still bends the ends in toward the window.


  4. I hope a 3rd party makes them shortly as I just got my first apple, a 2gig macbook, and the 60watt power adapter has already quit working after 1 month of in home use (no cats).This is not very confidence inspiring for someone who just got there first apple after years of IBM based nachines!
    I also did some research and was sad at what I found… A lot of problems in the past and present with apple power adapters.
    Give us something to be proud of would ya ?!

  5. Two topics I have issues with: cord chewing and the very dangerous iBook cord. My first cord has started sparking, and I just began researching this (on my last battery charge.) I am shocked, just shocked (pardon the pun) that Apple has such a shoddy and dangerous product on the market, and charges $80 and 4 weeks shipping to replace it. This is Apple, right? I’m researching 3rd party cords now, as I don’t want my house to burn down again. (The first time was caused by dogs.)

    And yes, my puppy chews through cords! Bitter Apple works, but reapply every few days, and prepare to get it on your hands. I bought a “As Seen On TV” cord cover, a kind of plastic tube that is supposed to contain and conceal all those unsightly computer cables. My hope is that by the time she gets through the outer layer, I will find her and stop the damage.

  6. I would highly recommend you NOT use any of the “bitter” sprays. I have a dog that was chewing on my blinds and purchased similar products. A year later I am still acidentally touching something I sprayed with it and somehow getting it in my mouth. Considering how often you will be handling your power cord it is just not worth it.

    It actually provides an excellent experiement in how easily germs can be spread but if you get a little in your mouth it is a unpleasant experience to say the least. The white vinigar idea sounds good (although I don’t know about how effective it will be).

  7. My 9 cats (1 per 10 acres) are all outdoors so I don’t have this issue, but I’m told that dish detergent wiped onto the cord works. I know it’s non-toxic as I’ve had my mouth washed with it more than once as a child :-).


  8. Patrick

    A patent is just a patent. It is up to the company that holds it to determine the level of enforcement.

    Case and point: Merceded holds the patent of crumple zones – a feature most every modern car has, yet they don’t enforce it.

    Having a patent is only the second part of a story that may not have a third.

  9. I talked to the MadsonOnline folks here at WWDC. They’re planning on bringing out their own MacBook and MacBook Pro power adapters in a few months. They were also using prototype MacBook and MacBook Pro battery chargers at the battery recharge station this year.

  10. Bichufo

    The cayene solution might work but if it doesn’t try this. Give it a good whipping with the chewed power cord. Bet that teaches the dumb cat a lesson. Remember you are dealing with an animal it doesn’t understand when you talk to it (although lots of people make idiot sounds at them (pretty! pretty! kitty!, etc.) and think that they do). A good spanking, oh, that they understand. Will never again go near a power cord. Don’t you wish they’d get fried on the first bite?

  11. Jason: I’ve heard that cats like all rubber and plastic products because there’s animal material (lard, I think?) involved in the manufacture. Our cats go after plastic bags all the time.

  12. I have to try out some of these suggestions. My cats love cords for some reason. They’ve gnawed their way through at least 3 cellphone chargers, a handful of telephone cords, a number of ethernet cables, and have certainly left toothmarks on a number of power cables…

  13. I had a cat chew through the power cord to one of my AirPort Extreme base stations… cat must have used at least one life in that… there was a big pile of burned black plastic on the tiles when i found it.. lucky it didn’t take the house down with it..

    But to your question regarding stopping your cat from doing it, I coated the new cord on the base station with a liquid (Sorry, I can’t remember what it was, maybe Google can help you?) that tastes and smells really bad to cats. They never tried it again.

    (Obvious I know, but…)Keep the cord coiled around the little tabs on the power brick, and keep the plastic cap on the plug (I don’t have a MagSafe laptop so I dont know if the magsafe cables have that cap). That way the cat can’t chew it while you aren’t using it (while you are is a different story)

  14. I too hope that 3rd party manufacturers can make MagSafe adapters. However, I doubt Apple was aiming to keep them out of the game by patenting the design. I think it’s more likely they were aiming to make sure only Apple laptops have the MagSafe feature.

  15. I’ve heard you can white the cord with white vinegar, the cat can smell it and you can’t. You can also mix a little white vinegar with water in a spray bottle and squirt the pesky feline when you see it gnawing…great cat training tool.

  16. Have you tried bitter sprays on your cords, such as Bitter Apple or Fooey? (I’ve used Fooey myself in the past, and it is, in fact, horrific-tasting.)

    The downside to doing this is that if you have to touch it all the time too (which you will), it’ll get on your fingers and then possibly into your mouth.