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Apple exploring USB 3.0, DisplayPort combo in new mini connector

post #1 of 68
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A new proprietary cable from Apple could simultaneously transmit both USB 3.0 and DisplayPort data, cutting down on cable clutter with future Macs and allowing easier video output with portable devices.

Revealed this week, Apple's patent applications for a "Reduced Size Multi-Pin Male Plug Connector" and "Reduced Size Multi-Pin Female Receptacle Connector" aim to offer more functionality with greater data transfer rates with a smaller cable connector form factor.

"Electronic devices such as media players and related devices have become ubiquitous over the past several years," the application reads. "As they have proliferated, the types of styles and electronic devices have diversified. During this time, a theme has been that consumers want more functionality packed into an ever-decreasing form factor."

Apple's solution describes a cable that employs two new standards -- USB 3.0 and DisplayPort -- in one connector. The male plug connector would "accommodate a plurality of contacts spaced apart in a single row," with multiple contact locations capable of carrying both USB 3.0 and DisplayPort data.

Utilizing the new, next-generation, high-speed interface standards could also allow Apple to create smaller connectors than the ones currently used by most consumers. The smaller size and combination of standards could be more convenient and simpler to use.

Apple notes that the invention could be used for a variety of devices, including desktops, notebooks, and portable media players. Images accompanying the application show a male plug connector attached to an iPod.



The application mentions that the USB 3.0 standard offers data transfer rates of 4.8 Gbps, while DisplayPort can transmit 4.1 MP when four lanes of contacts are available.

The invention is credited to Stephen Paul Zadesky, Brian S. Lynch and Jason Sloey. It was filed for on Sept. 29, 2009.



Last year, it was rumored that Apple pushed Intel to develop a new high-speed optical data port dubbed "Light Peak." The new cabling standard offers a throughput of 10Gbps that aims to replace a variety of existing ports, including USB, FireWire and DisplayPort.

Last November, the Mini DisplayPort originally developed by Apple for its portable Macs was officially adopted by the Video Electronics Standard Association. The form factor is much smaller than the previous Digital Video Interface and VGA connectors.

Though the Mini DisplayPort technology was originally created by Apple, earlier this year the Cupertino, Calif., company agreed to license the interface to VESA for its own DisplayPort standard. Prior to the agreement, Apple had to license its technology itself and made the standard free, as an incentive for rapid adoption.
post #2 of 68
Why the hell is this stuff patentable? Oooh, a plurality of contacts!!
post #3 of 68
I would rather see "Light Peak".
post #4 of 68
Considering all the cables I have behind my monitor and TV, I don't perceive this to be a bad thing. Anything to help thin out the rat's nest of cables is welcomed in my household.

But that's just me...
post #5 of 68
Instead of being able to plug two devices (a monitor and a USB 3.0 device) to your Mac at the same time, with this you can plug only one!

No thank you.
post #6 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh.B. View Post

Standard connectors should be used. This reeks of trying to lock their users into buying Apple-manufactured or Apple-licensed cables.

Already Apple sells cables at crazy-high prices. If they get this patent and implement the scheme, folks will have no choice but to get their cables from Apple.

This sucks. Big time.

More proprietary cables? AGH! Whatever happened to standard cables?
You're right..sucks.way big time.
post #7 of 68
I hope this is soon. I've decided that I'm not going to buy another iMac to replace my 2007 model until there's a faster external interface. USB 2.0 just doesn't cut it anymore. My iTunes library is on an external drive and it takes forever to sync my iPhone with lossless music.
post #8 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by gotApple View Post

Instead of being able to plug two devices (a monitor and a USB 3.0 device) to your Mac at the same time, with this you can plug only one!

No thank you.

... or rather than having only two USB ports and one display port that one doesn't use most of the time, you can then have three USB ports while retaining the ability to connect to external monitor just in case?
post #9 of 68
The picture looks like it could still accommodate a standard USB plug, it wouldn't be that bad if that was the case.
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post #10 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by msantti View Post

I would rather see "Light Peak".

however, Apple, like Sony of yesteryear, will continue to force us to spend £19.95 for a white adapter to convert one iDevice connector to another. Remember, in the garden of eden, humanity chose wrongly at the start. If we hadn't, and good had been embedded in us, light peak would have been introduced in the iPad, just as Apple used the excellent Wall Street and Lombard PowerBooks to introduce us to the wonderful world of WiFi. (And removable media bays...)
post #11 of 68
Does Apple remember Nothing?? Like exactly 10 years ago they came up with the EXACT same idea, it's called ADC "Apple Display Connector" and it was universally abhorred. It doesn't matter how technically beautiful you make a connector, the simple fact of the matter is that a "connector" has to connect 2 devices, and 9 times out of 10 Apple doesn't own that other device. That means that for interoperability Apple should just use effing standards. It's NOT that hard. Did you know that the current connector Apple is using actually supports up to 720Mbps USB _in the standard_ (not to mention Audio too!) Apple just decided to completely ignore this fact, and if they now create yet another proprietary connector that essentially duplicates the standard functionality that their connectors already support....ughhh
post #12 of 68
Please let this be an indication of MacBook docking stations on the way. Video out, plus a USB 3.0 hub to connect to wired networking and a bunch of devices... that's almost enough. I'd be more encouraged if they showed power being supplied to the device as well, though.
post #13 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh.B. View Post

Standard connectors should be used. This reeks of trying to lock their users into buying Apple-manufactured or Apple-licensed cables.

Already Apple sells cables at crazy-high prices. If they get this patent and implement the scheme, folks will have no choice but to get their cables from Apple.

This sucks. Big time.

While I agree that this is yet another proprietary cable made by Apple, it's really just a docking port. Dell Latitude computers and Lenovo Thinkpads have docking ports on their backside. Apple basically wants to do the same thing, but the port will be accessible via cable, and will replace all of the standard ports. As long as they sell an adapter that provides access to the USB and DisplayPort separately, then I think it's a fine idea.

I just hope they don't make the same mistake they made back in 2000, with the ADC (Apple Display Connector). It only worked between an Apple ADC display and an Apple ADC computer. They never provided an adapter to be used with VGA or DVI. Really dumb move...
post #14 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh.B. View Post

Why don't you use eSATA? My new laptop has an eSata port, and I'm thinking of replacing my external drives.

But I've not looked into it closely. Are there disadvantages to eSATA that cause you to wait for USB 3?

You know any Macs with eSATA?
post #15 of 68
Apple! Keep going with standards. Proprietary cables are not environmentally friendly. And they are more expensive because we need spares and so forth. Just stick with standards.

Steve! Greenpeace is just a phone call away. Don't tempt me! ;-/
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post #16 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh.B. View Post

Standard connectors should be used. This reeks of trying to lock their users into buying Apple-manufactured or Apple-licensed cables.

Already Apple sells cables at crazy-high prices. If they get this patent and implement the scheme, folks will have no choice but to get their cables from Apple.

This sucks. Big time.

They're not trying to lock people into buying their cables. Remember they have a free license with VESA for Mini Displayport as the article said, and we've all known for months.

They want to eliminate as many ports as possible from their portable products. I'n not in favor of that, because it makes it more difficult to connect several devices at once unless they have several of these ports aboard.

But it's never been about getting people to buy their own cables. That's such a small area of income for them that it's not worth the bother if that the reason.
post #17 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oflife View Post

however, Apple, like Sony of yesteryear, will continue to force us to spend £19.95 for a white adapter to convert one iDevice connector to another. Remember, in the garden of eden, humanity chose wrongly at the start. If we hadn't, and good had been embedded in us, light peak would have been introduced in the iPad, just as Apple used the excellent Wall Street and Lombard PowerBooks to introduce us to the wonderful world of WiFi. (And removable media bays...)

Light Peak won't be ready until the end of the year, if then.
post #18 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by gotApple View Post

Instead of being able to plug two devices (a monitor and a USB 3.0 device) to your Mac at the same time, with this you can plug only one!

No thank you.

Man people get worked up. Calm down for a minute & consider the real implications of this. This isn't necessarily a replacement of individual ports, could be more a design for a Docking port? Hmmmm? For a long time Apple has been dodging the Dock because current docking ports & designs are bulky & unreliable. However, with the throughput that USB 3 will bring & the daisy-chain capabilities of display port it makes a lot of sense for a design of a Dock port based on those 2 technologies. It would provide all the connections needed to connect a Dock device that would support Video, Audio, Drives, Gig Ethernet, so on & so-forth.

I may be way out here but this to me smells of Dock.
post #19 of 68
APPLE, NOO!

The last thing we need is another proprietary cable type like ADC. I've got a $99 ADC to DVI converter brick sitting in a drawer to prove it. I like that Apple wants to reduce cable clutter, but making a new cable type that no one else will ever use is not the way to do it. The single cable that splits into two at the end that they use on current Cinema Displays is good the way it is.
post #20 of 68
Great news
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post #21 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh.B. View Post

Oops!

I just assumed that Macs came equipped with them. I learn more and more all the time.

Why don't Macs come with eSATA ports? Is there anything better that is currently available?

On laptops, e-sata is clumsy because it doesn't as yet include power. The new standard does include power through the connector, but it hasn't been implemented as yet. So e-sata requires either that the device be plugged into a wall, or that it take power from either the Firewire port, or a high power USB port present on most laptop macs, both rarely on PC laptops.

So we might see it later.
post #22 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by dahacouk View Post

Apple! Keep going with standards. Proprietary cables are not environmentally friendly. And they are more expensive because we need spares and so forth. Just stick with standards.

Steve! Greenpeace is just a phone call away. Don't tempt me! ;-/

You realize of course that having "1 cable to connect them all" (sorry couldn't resist) is actually better for the environment due to less manufacturing of various cables, retooling machines, etc.,
post #23 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh.B. View Post

Oops!

I just assumed that Macs came equipped with them. I learn more and more all the time.

Why don't Macs come with eSATA ports? Is there anything better that is currently available?

Come on, seriously?
post #24 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrooksT View Post

Please let this be an indication of MacBook docking stations on the way. Video out, plus a USB 3.0 hub to connect to wired networking and a bunch of devices... that's almost enough. I'd be more encouraged if they showed power being supplied to the device as well, though.

Awful docking stations have long been a huge gaping hole in Apple laptop technology. Having to plug and unplug a pile of cables each time you dock the MacBook Pro makes it a lot less portable.
post #25 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh.B. View Post

Standard connectors should be used.

they likely will. this sounds like a port that could be used with their displays which already have a hydra cord for the power, display and USB.

and then there would be one or two regular USBs.

now what I wonder is if I was using something not Apple for my display. what happens then. would i still have a DP to DVI adapter I could hook in.

and also keep in mind that patents mean nothing. As we know from all the lawsuits that folks patent all kinds of crazy things they never plan to use, unless someone else does and they can sue. or someone wants to and has to pay to play. Apple right now is playing and merely wants to keep control of the sandbox.
post #26 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh.B. View Post

I think it is difficult to suss out the reasons behind Apple's decisions.

But I note that the 30 pin connector on their best-selling products is NOT available unless a manufacturer is able to cut a deal with Apple. We have seen a disappointing lack of devices able to connect with the 30 pin connector. And we saw third-party cables rendered inoperable by the switch to OS 2.1.

I think that Apple likes the control, and likes the royalties, and likes the high-margin accessory business.

How much do you think Apple gets for those cables? Very little. The 30 pin port is a special port which is rather complex. Apple has been approached by music player and phone manufacturers to license that port, but Apple wisely refused. That port gives Apple a major advantage over other companies. The amount they make from licensing it is minor. Licensing is a way of controlling who uses the design. Apple wants to do some QC over the manufacturing process. That's the only way they can do it. Otherwise we get $0.99 cent cables that fail quickly and can damage Apple's products.

Again I'll mention that they licensed the Mini Displayport to VESA for nothing.
post #27 of 68
Another $50 for a stupid cable. That's really great!
post #28 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob55 View Post

You know any Macs with eSATA?

MBP 17" has Express Card Slot that you can plug in eSata adapters @
http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Apiotek/EC0003D/
http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Apiotek/ECCR24/

Also Mac Pros can have eSata Cards check out OWC
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post #29 of 68
I think this is a great idea AS LONG AS Apple offers it to world on the same license terms as the mini DisplayPort: Free.

It needs to be widely adopted or otherwise this is just ADC again.
post #30 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by FineTunes View Post

MBP 17" has Express Card Slot that you can plug in eSata adapters @
http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Apiotek/EC0003D/
http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Apiotek/ECCR24/

Also Mac Pros can have eSata Cards check out OWC

I realize that. I meant that I wasn't aware of any Mac that had them built in without resorting to a 3rd-party device.
post #31 of 68
People are getting worked up over a patent filing that may or may not come to be. Let's wait for a shipping or announced product before grabbing our torches and pitchforks.

The DP standard can already push USB at rates 50% faster than USB2.0. I hope that Apple turns this on in the next update, along with audio (the latter being the more important of the two, IMO).

In the long run, USB3.0 over DP is great for their (et al.) monitors with integrated speakers, mic, webcam and powered USB hubs. This could reduce the number of cables from the current LED ACD to two cables: MagSafe power and mDP.

While getting LightPeak would be great there will be hundreds of millions of devices still dependent upon USB singling over cooper for a long time to come, which means USB will be still be needed. Apple has no choice but to adopt USB3.0 even if it plans to drop FireWire altogether and eventually move to LightPeak as standard the spec isn't even completed last time i checked and it will an uphill battle to get devices to follow suit. Look how long USB3.0 has been ready and it's still on a long upward journey.
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post #32 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by gotApple View Post

Instead of being able to plug two devices (a monitor and a USB 3.0 device) to your Mac at the same time, with this you can plug only one!

No thank you.

I think the idea is that if this is used on desktop/notebooks that it would actually add a USB connection to your computer. Say you have a macbook with DisplayPort and 2 USB3 connections and you want to use USB3 connections on the monitor then you would have to sacrifice one of the two USB3 connections on the Macbook to go to the monitor. If the USB3 is integrated into the Displayport then you would only need the one cable to the monitor that would provide video and USB3. The two USB3 connections on the Macbook are still free for other uses.
post #33 of 68
ADC NO please no
Give us esata
a port for usb 3
On a portable player (ipod ipad) maybe but please not on computers.
post #34 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by gotApple View Post

Instead of being able to plug two devices (a monitor and a USB 3.0 device) to your Mac at the same time, with this you can plug only one!

No thank you.

No where does it say that there is ONLY this new connector on the desktop.

If it was, that would be stupid, like Apple's old ADC which was quite similar. On the other hand, if there's still a complete compliment of USB 3.0 ports on the machine, and an adapter IN THE BOX with the desktop (like the VGA adapter that used to come with Mac minis), then I'm all for it. I'd be even more for it if they license this connector to VESA so it becomes standard.

Honestly, I think Apple learned it's lesson after ADC. And this is only a patent filing, so I wouldn't get my kickers in too much of a twist.
post #35 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by msantti View Post

I would rather see "Light Peak".

Same here.
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post #36 of 68
Just a patent. For all we know, Apple may try to push for a standard. One would hope they learned their lesson with ADC. I know I did.
post #37 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by msantti View Post

I would rather see "Light Peak".

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmcalpin View Post

Same here.

I don't get these posts. Why is it 'rather' and not 'as well as'. LightPeak can't replace USB3.0 out of the gate. When it's finally finished and included on devices it will be in addition to USB, likely USB3.0 for most machines by that time.

In regards to the patent, replacing USB3.0 in DP with LightPeak doesn't make since as one is cooper and the other optical. On top of that, any LightPeak port will be able to send/recieve DisplayPort port signaling, but you''ll need an expensive optical to cooper convertor to utilize it at this point. So again it makes no sense.
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post #38 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh.B. View Post

Standard connectors should be used. This reeks of trying to lock their users into buying Apple-manufactured or Apple-licensed cables.

Already Apple sells cables at crazy-high prices. If they get this patent and implement the scheme, folks will have no choice but to get their cables from Apple.

This sucks. Big time.

Nope. sorry.
Much better to have ports designed around products, than to have products designed around ports.
One of these two ways is the way Apple has always, always, always done it. The other way is the way PC makers have always done it (with very few exceptions)
post #39 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by haruhiko View Post

Another $50 for a stupid cable. That's really great!

Cool it's going to be 50 bucks?

How about the fact that as you buy new items they will come with the cable needed? I think the point is you can have 6 connections on your mac and have them do multiple things, not be restricted on what can be plugged in where... oh wait... trolling?
post #40 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by dahacouk View Post

Steve! Greenpeace is just a phone call away. Don't tempt me! ;-/

Let us know the results.
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