Unusually for a Microsoft product launch, we've been left with plenty of unanswered questions after yesterday's Surface tablet announcement, and some extra intrigue has been added this morning by a keen-eyed Engadget reader. The right side of Microsoft's Surface for Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets is occupied by a USB port, a video output, a speaker grille, and... a heretofore unseen five-pin connector slot.


It might be the first time we're seeing it in the metallic flesh, but Microsoft has actually filed for a patent covering a power and data connector that looks remarkably similar. Though the company's patent application doesn't give too much away, its illustrative drawings look exactly like the slot we're seeing on its new Surface tablets. The key specifications from the application — which, coincidentally, was just made public on June 14th — are about its symmetrical shape and magnetic coupling to devices, leading us to believe that Microsoft is indeed on its way to creating a MagSafe competitor to go with its freshly introduced iPad rivals. We've asked the company for comment on what these mysterious connectors might be and will update you on anything we hear back.

Update: As noted by jeremy.ironside in our comments, Mike Angiulo did acknowledge this as a "magnetic charging connector" during Microsoft's presentation event, but he also failed to provide any further details. Notably, Microsoft also kept all the charging cables out of sight during the post-event hands-on time we had, so it seems like the company's not yet ready to fully detail this new interconnect.