Apple has filed for a patent (number 20150364882) with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for a power adapter with retractable prongs. The invention involves an electrical adapter that has first and second prongs that are retractable and deployable.
When the prongs are in the deployed position the adapter may be mated with a receptacle and when in the retracted position the adapter has a reduced physical size. A linkage couples the first prong to the second prongs such that the first and second prongs retract and deploy simultaneously. An actuation mechanism causes the prongs to have a first detent in the deployed position and a second detent in the retracted position.
As iPhones, iPads, and other electronic gadgets become more compact, a limiting factor on the size of the package in which the systems are shipped and sold may be the size of the electrical power adapter used to charge the electronic system. Apple says that such large power adapters may contribute to increased shipping costs for the electrical systems and may also be difficult for the user to conveniently store and transport. The company is looking into developing electrical power adapters with features to reduce their physical size for reduced shipping costs and added convenience.