Apple is currently using the MagSafe port charging technology on its MacBooks. The technology was first introduced back in 2006 and has been a favorite feature of many for years. Recent patents seem to suggest that Apple might be looking to expand the use of the MagSafe technology for use in charging iPhone/iPads in the future.
The biggest advantage of this technology is that the cable breaks away when accidently pulled away from the device. Other clear advantages include the reduction of wear and tear on the physical connector itself.
If Apple adopts this technology it is hard to say when we will actually see it in the iPhone and iPad. Sources seem to believe that it will not be in the next generation version, but it would likely be the version after that.