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Apple exploring new iPhone/iPad dock connector for multiple orientations

post #1 of 19
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Future portable devices from Apple, such as iPhones and iPads, could be docked in both portrait and landscape positions, via an inductive connection on the back side of the device for charging and syncing.

Currently, docking an iPhone or an iPad with an official dock connector from Apple requires the hardware to stand in portrait orientation. This angle is not ideal for some tasks, such as watching a widescreen movie.

A new patent application from Apple aims to resolve this issue, by creating a new input method placed on the back of a device, rather than the bottom. This would allow the user to choose to dock the hardware in either landscape or portrait orientation.

The application, entitled "Methods and Apparatuses for Docking a Portable Electronic Device That Has a Planar Like Configuration and That Operates in Multiple Orientations," was revealed this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Apple originally filed the document on March 25 of this year.

The document describes a docking station that, like those currently available, allows both data and power transfer to a portable device, like an iPhone or iPad. But the new hardware would include a port that is "rotationally symmetric," allowing it to support any device orientation the user may choose.

Rather than "plug in" a device, the necessary power and data contacts could be flush with both the portable device and the docking station. This would allow the device to simply rest on the docking station, negating the need to line up a plug with a port on the device. Currently, Apple uses its proprietary iPod connector port on its portable devices and docking stations.



"The electrical contacts may be flat planar contacts that lie flush on the surface of the housing," the application reads. "In some cases, the flush mounts may be spring-loaded or utilize a flexure in order to ensure mating contact with each other when the portable device is docked."

Apple could use inductive coils in its future portable devices, allowing both data and power to be transferred. The application notes that inductive coils allow for more aesthetically pleasing devices, as they can be concealed behind the housing of a device, as opposed to electrical contacts, which need to be exposed.



"Furthermore, inductively based systems are more robust than electrical contacts," the application continues. "For example, there are no contacts to wear out and/or oxidize."

Less elegant solutions include more traditional electrical contacts with stands and docks that can be rotated or adjusted, much like a pivoted monitor.

In addition, in one illustration, a flat, iPad-like device is docked to an extended articulated arm, much like those found on previous generation iMacs released earlier in the early 2000s.



The patent application is credited to Apple inventors Steve Hotelling and Gus Pabon.
post #2 of 19
It's about time too!!
post #3 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by gearhunter View Post

It's about time too!!

For sure, as much as I like these designs, it's time they actually appeared on the products, rev 2 ipads would sure benefit.
post #4 of 19
Brilliant! Especially for the iPad!
post #5 of 19
I don't like inductive chargers. They're still inefficient. Contacts on the back for charging would be fine. Springs on the charger would be fine too. The contacts wouldn't have to be live until touching the charger contacts. This can be done. That way, you wouldn't be shorting the contacts with your hands or a metal stand. It would be interesting to know whether this means that Apple could be allowing WiFi syncing, as that would work well. I'm not overly fond of the speed loss from wireless though.

But if Apple abandoned the 30 pin connector, that would be one less thing to break or get wet.

Of course, that leaves open the question of how we would connect to other devices without having to use Bluetooth or WiFi.

Would we finally get a USB 2, or preferably 3, or better yet, a Lightpeak port? I would prefer that.
post #6 of 19
looks exactly like what my wife's Palm Pixi Plus already does with the Palm touchstone....
post #7 of 19
Targeting the needs of multiple orientations makes sense, since Apple has always been gay-friendly.



GTSC
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I don't like inductive chargers. They're still inefficient.

Agreed. Manufacturers need to start thinking of energy efficiency. I don't care what side of the political spectrum you're on, continued excessive imports of oil are bad. Pick you reasons: global warming, terrorism funded by oil-producing states, balance of trade, dependence on third world countries to keep our economies afloat, pollution, aging infrastructure, and so on.

Wasting energy is bad. The time savings are insignificant. It takes about 1 second to plug in my iPhone. In some cases, positioning a device on the inductive charger can take even longer (because of the need to position it carefully. For example, getting a Wii remote with case onto an inductive charger takes quite a bit of fiddling).

Even if the charger only wastes a few watts of electricity, multiply that by 100 million iDevices and you're talking serious waste. Then add in the hundreds of millions of other cell phones. Then the billions of other electronic devices.

Then, on top of that, realize that the inductive charger is more expensive to produce and uses more resources than a simple cable.

It's time to think about how we can save energy at essentially no cost. Whether it comes back to bite us this year or in 30 years isn't the issue. The fact is that one or more of the above problems WILL occur. Time to try to minimize the impact.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I don't like inductive chargers. They're still inefficient. Contacts on the back for charging would be fine. Springs on the charger would be fine too. The contacts wouldn't have to be live until touching the charger contacts. This can be done. That way, you wouldn't be shorting the contacts with your hands or a metal stand. It would be interesting to know whether this means that Apple could be allowing WiFi syncing, as that would work well. I'm not overly fond of the speed loss from wireless though.

But if Apple abandoned the 30 pin connector, that would be one less thing to break or get wet.

Of course, that leaves open the question of how we would connect to other devices without having to use Bluetooth or WiFi.

Would we finally get a USB 2, or preferably 3, or better yet, a Lightpeak port? I would prefer that.

I can't see this happening without WiFi syncing coming along with it.

I don't see a good physical connectpr being dropped anytime in the foreseeable future even with 802.11n is simply to slow with tge current capacity iDevices.

When they do drop copper for optical I have a feeling they will create an extra-thin connector that they won't open up to everyone, unlike mini-DispalyPort, so they can licesne it to their accesory partners.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #10 of 19
Why can't they just do wireless syncing over wifi and leave the charging to the tried and tested dock connector? Inductive charging/syncing to me is a stopgap to wireless, no-contact charging/syncing. We have the tech for wireless syncing, give it to us now. Then start working on wireless charging. Thanks.
When a company stops chasing profit and start chasing the betterment of their products, services, workforce, and customers, that will be the most valuable company in the world.
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When a company stops chasing profit and start chasing the betterment of their products, services, workforce, and customers, that will be the most valuable company in the world.
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post #11 of 19
Suddenly the iPad becomes a completely viable word processing platform. This would make the product increasingly difficult to resist. It made no sense to me that you couldn't dock and charge the thing in landscape mode originally.
post #12 of 19
I've always wondered why somebody couldn't just make a right-angle dock connector on a cable. That way, the cable would dangle straight down in landscape and still work in portrait.
post #13 of 19
Glad to see Apple working on this. I hope it comes quickly. I have never liked 30-pin connectors or any type of connector that requires you to aim, involves friction, or requires case removal. Don't even get me started on requiring adapters for various models. That's why many users of world class speaker systems like the Zepplin hide standard headphone jack connectors behind their speakers for when company is over wanting to listen to their various iPod models. Yuck.

Try removing the iPad out of its Apple case. You will need to if you want to use the keyboard w/ connector to type something lengthy. Another pain in the butt. Result? I hardly use the keyboard.

I thought they would go mag-safe like they do with the cool laptop power connectors. But whatever method they choose, I hope it addresses these annoyances.
post #14 of 19
I would love to see Apple take this opportunity to add digital audio and video output capabilities.
post #15 of 19
http://visionaforethought.wordpress....ter-than-this/


So let's see where this goes!

visionaforethought AT gmail.com
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by bugsnw View Post

Glad to see Apple working on this. I hope it comes quickly. I have never liked 30-pin connectors or any type of connector that requires you to aim, involves friction, or requires case removal.

Having to take it out of the case in order to use the dock connector is a fault of the case, not the connector. Plenty of cases don't require removal.

Quote:
Don't even get me started on requiring adapters for various models. That's why many users of world class speaker systems like the Zepplin hide standard headphone jack connectors behind their speakers for when company is over wanting to listen to their various iPod models.

I think 3.5mm stereo plugs are more for the benefit of devices from other manufacturers that don't have a dock connector at all.
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kolchak View Post

Having to take it out of the case in order to use the dock connector is a fault of the case, not the connector. Plenty of cases don't require removal.

True, but you do have to remove Apple's excellent case to use the keyboard dock and my Zeppelin speaker system requires naked iPods.

My point is I'm looking forward to a far more elegant solution.
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kolchak View Post

Having to take it out of the case in order to use the dock connector is a fault of the case, not the connector. Plenty of cases don't require removal.

I've yet to see a case that doesn't need to be removed to work in the Apple dock. The contacts of the 30 pin connector aren't tall enough if there is any thickness to the case on the iPad. If you file out the bottom of the case, then it'll fit and work. Not the best solution at all.
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by silverpraxis View Post

Why can't they just do wireless syncing over wifi and leave the charging to the tried and tested dock connector? Inductive charging/syncing to me is a stopgap to wireless, no-contact charging/syncing. We have the tech for wireless syncing, give it to us now. Then start working on wireless charging. Thanks.

doing anything at all in the most expensive micro nano real estate in the world is not easy .

not easy at all

took 8 yrs to get a sd slot on a 15in mbp pro
FW1600 is still not here .

usb 3 will never happen

otherwise good post


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whats in a name ? 
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