When Apple began shipping the MacBook Pro in February I cut them some slack for not having auto and airplane adapters with MagSafe connectors. But now that the MacBook has been released and you can only buy an Apple notebook with a MagSafe connector I am getting a little concerned about the lack of charging options. Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig started an excellent thread on the Apple Discussion forums about the lack of a good airplane charging solution for the MacBook Pro.
Granted, the MagSafe power connector is a complicated beast. The boxy connector end is made of 14 discrete parts and probably difficult to manufacture, but if Apple expects to position their notebooks as true mobile computers they need to offer a 12-volt power plug (for cars) and an EmPower in-seat power plug (for commercial aircraft). If they don't come out with a solution for this problem - or license it to third-parties - MacBook Pro sales could be kept in a holding pattern.
Apple has a patent-pending on the MagSafe adapter, which is basically a provisional patent. It affords Apple one year of research and development before they have to file a formal patent application. This means that third-party developers aren't able to create MagSafe accessories without Apple's blessing. If Apple isn't going to let third parties (like Madsonline, Lind, BTI, SmartDisk, Kensington) under the kimono, they need to develop an auto/airline adapter of their own - soon.