The coolest feature of the Apple's new MacBook Pro notebook is the new MagSafe power adapter. The new power adapter provides 85 watts of juice where previous adapters only delivered 65 watts (or as low as 45 watts in the case of the 12-inch PB). The interesting part is MagSafe's magnetic attachment to the MacBook.
Previous adapters relied on a friction connection between the male part of the adapter and the female port on the PowerBook. The problem with the old system is that the connection is too tight and if you happen to trip over the power cable you can easily fling your $2500 investment across the room.
The new power adapter will undoubtedly cause people that have several of the previous adapters to groan at the thought of buying multiple new ones, but Apple should be able to do a brisk business in adapter sales. It's little innovations like MagSafe that restore my faith in Apple and make me want to buy a MacBook Pro. Now if they'd only tell us what the battery life is supposed to be...
According to a CNet blog entry by Scott Ard the MagSafe connector has been a standard feature in many kitchen appliances for several years:
According to this CNN article from 2001, the breakaway cord is a standard that was developed by Underwriters Laboratories and is used on countertop deep fryers, fondue sets and similar kitchen gadgets. It was designed to reduce burns caused when a child pulls on the cord.