According to rumors, Apple may abandon the proprietary Lightning connector in its smartphones. And it looks like the new patent is hinting at what could be replaced.
The patent, filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office, describes a three-pin “MagSafe” charger similar to those used in older MacBooks. It looks like Apple is discussing several different contact designs as they differ in the images.
The documentation does not say that this is an iPhone charger, but the diagrams most likely show exactly the bottom end of the smartphone. It is possible that in the future MagSafe, like the iPhone 12 line, will be used for connecting accessories, and the magnetic connector for charging.
It is worth admitting that such a connector is much more convenient than Lightning: it attaches more easily and will not be damaged if you accidentally hit the cord.
Analyst Mig-Chi Kuo is confident that at least this year, iPhones will continue to feature a Lightning connector.