six colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

Linked by Dan Moren

Alas, poor MagSafe

Over at Macworld, occasional Six Colors contributor Glenn Fleishman does yeoman’s work trying to figure out whether the USB-C port on the new MacBook will mean more laptops flying off tables when people trip on power cords. (Warning: contains math!)

A jerk from a cable could accelerate a laptop so rapidly that the initial coefficient factor of rubber on a glass table could be as high as 5—meaning you’d need force on the order of five earth gravities (50N) to get the MacBook moving. But recall that force involves mass and acceleration: an abrupt yank by a heavy weight (like a human’s leg intersecting with a cable) could briefly produce force on that order of magnitude!

I’m with those folks who’d rather have seen a MagSafe connector (even if it were a thinner MagSafe 3) alongside the USB-C port on the new MacBooks. But Apple’s fixation on thinness probably makes that impractical—at least for now. Who’s to say there won’t be another MagSafe connector on MacBooks down the road—perhaps à la the inductive charger on the Apple Watch. I’m sure we’re all looking forward to buying yet another new set of cables.