Apple developing mini-disc adapter for slot-loading drives

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited September 2015
Apple iPod chief Tony Fadell has develop a collapsable hardware solution that would allow his company to reduce shipping and packaging costs by selling software on smaller discs which could then be used in slot-loading optical drives built for standard 12 cm CDs and DVDs, a new filing has revealed.



Dubbed "Compact Memory Disc Adapter and Methods of Use Thereof," the patent filing made in May of 2006 and published for the first time on Thursday explains that conventional rotating memory storage discs such as CDs and DVDs are currently produced in standard 12 cm and reduced diameter 8 cm configurations.



Software is traditionally shipped on the 12 cm discs, but many applications exist today that require less storage capacity than what is available on the those discs, the filing adds. However, slot-loading drives found in notebooks and car audio systems are only designed only to accept 12 cm discs.



"In such situations it would be advantageous to use a reduced diameter (lower storage capacity) disc," Fadell explained. "Such advantages include reduced shipping costs, reduced production costs, etc."



The iPod chief pointed out that one currently available solution to using reduced diameter discs in slot drives is that of a rigid adapter that when used in conjunction with the reduced diameter disc enables a disc player to accept and play the reduced diameter disc.



"However, this solution does nothing to reduce shipping costs since the rigid adapter (with its larger footprint) must be shipped with the reduced diameter disc and therefore a standard sized shipping container must be used to accommodate both the rigid adapter and reduced diameter disc," he wrote. "What is needes is a cost effective method and apparatus for shipping reduced diameter discs that assures the end user will be able to use the reduced diameter disc in a slot drive designed exclusively for a standard diameter disc."



Therefore, Fadell's invention calls for a "compactable memory disc adapter" that can be shipped in a compact form and expanded by the customer once extracted from the retail packaging. It could then be fitted around the edges of a 8cm mini-disc, effectively allowing for the reduced diameter disc to play in a slot interface designed exclusively for standard 12cm diameter discs.







Such an adapter can exist in more than one form, the iPod chief goes on to explain. One method includes two separated portions that are mated together via a locking mechanism to form the expanded adapter.



"For example, such a locking mechanism can include tabs that when mated with corresponding tab receivers form the expanded memory disc adapter," he explained. "Again it should be noted that such an embodiment could be implemented with any number of portions and corresponding locking mechanisms along the lines described above. It should be noted that when in a compacted configuration the portions are stacked one atop the other in such a way as to have a reduced footprint."



Another method for construction of the disc adapter could include portions that are coupled via foldable joints. Under this method, the portions are folded apart in an unfolding operation using the foldable joints.







"It is contemplated that the unfolding operation can be either a manual unfolding operation whereby the portions are unfolded by way of an externally applied force or an automatic unfolding operation whereby the portions are unfolded due to the release of unfolding energy stored in the joints," Fadell wrote. "In the automatic unfolding operation, the portions are (in the compacted configuration) held together in spite of the unfolding energy stored in the joints by way of a clip or other such device (not shown)."



In order to achieve the expanded configuration under the aforementioned method, the clip is released and the unfolding energy stored in the joints would then forces the portions apart, forming the expanded adapter. In order to return to the compacted state, the reverse process would be followed whereby an amount of energy commensurate with the unfolding energy previously stored in the foldable joints is applied.
«134

Comments

  • pmjoepmjoe Posts: 565member
    A PATENT FILING?!?!?! I own one of these. Companies made them like 15 years ago.



    Oh ... they're talking about a foldable/expandable one. I have to imagine these kinds of things would produce horrible vibration in today's much, much higher speed drives.



    Why not just make foldable discs?
  • walter slocombewalter slocombe Posts: 1,568member
    I own one as well.. from around 1988??



    how about just using the same design of drive thats in the Wii it takes the smaller discs and is a slot loader.





    Funny, when I read the headline I thought they were gonna put a minidisc(tm) drive in the machines!
  • bsenkabsenka Posts: 776member
    This story has nothing to do with mini-discs whatsoever.
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    The first one I had was Nine Inch Nail's Broken album. It had a minidisc along with the main CD.



    Anyway, I don't think a folding ring is a smart move. It adds an extra part and that could be broken or lost and that is not often used. Why not just engineer the drive inject/eject motor to work with smaller discs?
  • ajmasajmas Posts: 525member
    Nintendo already has such technology for the Wii, allowing GameCube disks to be used. Maybe Apple could license the same technology or get their driver supplier to license the technology?
  • screedscreed Posts: 1,077member
    \

    The timing or need of this is odd.



    Anybody else think that this coming out now is really odd?
  • ringoringo Posts: 328member
    Apple actually used to ship machines with such drives. The slot-load iMac G3s were able to take the small discs if they were round. At some point they stopped using those, it seems.
  • rdas7rdas7 Posts: 32member
    So I guess the new MacBook nano will have a mini cd drive then?
  • smokeonitsmokeonit Posts: 268member
    the first ibooks were also capable of loading the smaller discs...
  • kasperkasper Posts: 939member, administrator, moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by smokeonit View Post


    the first ibooks were also capable of loading the smaller discs...



    The main point of the patent and invention is that Fadell's adapter can be collapsed -- for shipping and packaging -- into a very small footprint. It's not just about the idea of the adapter, which as several of you noted, already exists. Does the one for the wii collapse?



    Best,



    K
  • thefunky_monkeythefunky_monkey Posts: 24member
    To be honest, I think Optical media is on the way out. People download software these days, direct to hard drive - think of iPods - they don't come with iTunes, you download it.



    The only case where optical media is needed at the moment is installing OS's, and even then they can be installed from a partition. I imagine that future laptops will not have inbuilt optical drives, and instead will come bundled with USB optical drives (much like floppies were for a while). Until eventually everything will be done wirelessly.



    Who knows, in the future when you buy Mac OS X 10.8 it might come on a wireless USB flash drive that cannot be written to, and you can just boot from it wirelessly!
  • thefunky_monkeythefunky_monkey Posts: 24member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kasper View Post


    The main point of the patent and invention is that Fadell's adapter can be collapsed -- for shipping and packaging -- into a very small footprint. It's not just about the idea of the adapter, which as several of you noted, already exists. Does the one for the wii collapse?



    Best,



    K



    The Wii doesn't need an adapter - it has a slot loading drive that accepts normal and mini optical disks (gamecube disks).



    As you insert the disks, it gets 'sucked' towards the centre, so every disk ends up in the right location.
  • kerrybkerryb Posts: 270member
    Looks like we are stuck with the 12cm disc for a little while longer. I imagine CD/DVD drives will disappear in the next 5 years when bandwidth and wifi are fast enough to eliminate the need for this aging technology. CDs are convenient still and shipping an adapter to fit a mini disc is ridicules the whole idea of ease of use and shipping cost savings.
  • shaminoshamino Posts: 359member
    Of course, no adapter will work for non-standard shape discs, like the credit-card-shape ones I like to use when giving small quantities of data to people. For that, nothing other than a tray-loading drive will suffice.



    Unfortunately, Apple has all but eliminated tray-loading drives (only the Mac Pro uses them today), and it's very rare to find tray-loaders in cars (Sony had one model, but I don't think it's being sold anymore.)
  • aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,522member
    Boy... why not just go for the shield-less thumbdrives if you want to reduce packaging! Mini-CD's aren't that much smaller, (even the business card size ones) compared to standard CDs... but those iSticks are great for travel. Let's hear it for postage-stamp sized software packages.
  • 19841984 Posts: 955member
    I owned an Alpine car stereo that could accept the smaller 8cm discs without an adapter. This was back in 1992.
  • shaminoshamino Posts: 359member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kerryb View Post


    Looks like we are stuck with the 12cm disc for a little while longer. I imagine CD/DVD drives will disappear in the next 5 years when bandwidth and wifi are fast enough to eliminate the need for this aging technology. CDs are convenient still and shipping an adapter to fit a mini disc is ridicules the whole idea of ease of use and shipping cost savings.



    So you think we'll end up with everything being downloaded and nothing is shipped on physical media?



    I don't think so. While broadband access is widespread in many places, it is not universal. There are still huge segments of the population that either don't have internet access or only have it at dial-up speeds. They won't be downloading anything large, and they're not going to vanish (or give up their desire to buy content) in the next 5 years.



    Also, it is well known that content has a habit of growing to fill all available space. In 5 years, we'll have higher capacity optical drives (Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, or some other similar tech), and we'll start seeing lots of our content delivered in that format - once again being too large to comfortably download.
  • mpantonempantone Posts: 1,237member
    OMG, Apple has reinvented the wheel!
  • shaminoshamino Posts: 359member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post


    Boy... why not just go for the shield-less thumbdrives if you want to reduce packaging! Mini-CD's aren't that much smaller, (even the business card size ones) compared to standard CDs... but those iSticks are great for travel. Let's hear it for postage-stamp sized software packages.



    They're small, but they're much more expensive. It costs only a few cents to stamp out a CD (of either size). That won't be the case for anything solid state. There's a reason every single video game manufacturer abandoned the ROM cartridge for media distribution - it costs orders of magnitude more than optical discs for mass-produced content of any significant size.



    The overall goal here is to minimize total cost. Packaging and shipping is only one part of that equation. If the media itself costs more than what you save on packaging, then you haven't gained anything.
  • strawberrystrawberry Posts: 179member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kasper View Post


    Does the one for the wii collapse?



    Nah, the Wii takes the 8cm GameCube discs without an adaptor. Apple should use these drives too, I wonder if the reason they don't is a price issue or a multiregion DVD firmware hack one.

    I agree with the above that if packaging costs are a worry, they should jump on the software-on-usb stick bandwagon like others are doing!
Sign In or Register to comment.