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Apple granted patent for dock connector with USB 3.0, Thunderbolt

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
A patent recently granted to Apple reveals that the company is looking into a modified dock connector compatible with newer high-speed communication standards, such as USB 3.0 and a "dual-lane DisplayPort," or Thunderbolt, connector.

The invention, entitled "Reduced Size Multi-Pin Male Plug Connector," was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday and describes a smaller 30-pin dock connector with updated connection standards.

"Some embodiments of the present invention can provide support for one or more new high-speed communication standards," the filing read, citing USB 3.0 and DisplayPort as examples of these standards.

The device depicted in the application's drawings is an iPod, but the invention extends to other mobile devices and laptop and desktop computers.



According to the patent, the multi-purpose connector could carry power, data, video and audio signals. One embodiment includes two legacy USB2 contacts, four USB3 contacts, USB power and a ground. The DisplayPort standard would transfer data at 1.3MP with one lane, 1.8MP with two lanes and 4.1MP when all four lanes are selected.

The patent does not indicate whether the new connector would be backward compatible with Apple's current dock connector.



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



Though the patent was revealed by the USPTO last year, Intel's Thunderbolt implementation, which couples a DisplayPort with high-speed interconnect, had yet to be announced.

Intel announced the Thunderbolt interconnect technology in February alongside Apple's release of new MacBook Pros, the first to take advantage of the new specification.

Formerly codenamed 'Light Peak,' the technology provides PCI Express interconnect speeds of up to 10Gbps and utilizes the Apple-developed Mini DisplayPort. Intel had originally hoped to use fiber-optic cabling for the technology, but initial implementations utilize copper wiring due to cost constraints.

post #2 of 36
This is why Apple is so successful. They are not only constantly improving their software, eg., SL, but also investing R&D money and resources into every facet of production. They are leading the way in...

1.) Battery technology. (Does anyone remember the bleating on these boards about having non-replaceable batteries?) Ugh!

2.) Apple has the best laptop construction with the uni-body design. Is there another manufacturer even close?

3.) Retina display on the iPhone. Just wonderful.

4.) Touch. Look at the track pads on their laptops, magic trackpad and magic mouse. They are just brilliant.

5.) iLife.

6.) iWork.

6.) Etc., etc.
post #3 of 36
This looks like the new Dock Connector I've been predicting and it can't get here soon enough with a 64GB iPhone and Touch potentially coming this year, though no competitor is matching Apple on this front, and a 128 iPad potentially coming next year.

60 pins. I wonder what the final size will be. I assume it's thinner than the current Dock Connector, but how wide will it be? (rhetorical)

Oh, and what christopher126 said, too.
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post #4 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

This is why Apple is so successful. They are not only constantly improving their software, eg., SL, but also investing R&D money and resources into every facet of production. They are leading the way in...

1.) Battery technology. (Does anyone remember the bleating on these boards about having non-replaceable batteries?) Ugh!

2.) Apple has the best laptop construction with the uni-body design. Is there another manufacturer even close?

3.) Retina display on the iPhone. Just wonderful.

4.) Touch. Look at the track pads on their laptops, magic trackpad and magic mouse. They are just brilliant.

5.) iLife.

6.) iWork.

6.) Etc., etc.


And if Apple apologists had their way, none of these would have come about because everything would have been perfect just the way it is. And before you deny ever calling anything perfect, did you ever admit that things needed improvement? If not, then you may as well be calling everything perfect.
post #5 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

And if Apple apologists had their way, none of these would have come about because everything would have been perfect just the way it is. And before you deny ever calling anything perfect, did you ever admit that things needed improvement? If not, then you may as well be calling everything perfect.

Stop being an ass. Your silly arguments mean nothing. No reasonable person has ever made the the wilde claims you proclaim.

Saying the iPad is perfect for their needs at a single point in times for a single user doesn't mean it's the perfect tabelt for all users in all frields for ever and ever and ever. You need to learn to seperarte from what is said and what is meant.
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post #6 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

And if Apple apologists had their way, none of these would have come about because everything would have been perfect just the way it is. And before you deny ever calling anything perfect, did you ever admit that things needed improvement? If not, then you may as well be calling everything perfect.

huh??? really??
post #7 of 36
I could not have said it any better, and for good measure you spoke [typed] without a cruel injection of ad hominem. From so many responses I read on these forums the user results to appealing to calumny or malicious statements designed to slander the reputation of the author they are attack. You ser, or ma'am, deserve 4 gold star stickers placed next to your name
post #8 of 36
What is meant by MP for display port transfer speeds?

But yes, any faster transfer protocol is a good thing. I would prefer a wireless standard. Is there something available? Is there a reason Apple doesn't use a wireless transfer protocol for sync etc?
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post #9 of 36
Less USB3, more Light Peak please, unless of course Intel decide to fully support USB3.

I'm dissappointed with the inconsistant USB3 implementations at the moment.



Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

They are leading the way in...
5.) iLife.
6.) iWork.
6.) Etc., etc.

Could you imagine if they weren't leading the way in iLife and iWork... that would be weird!

Also, I'm pretty sure Google are leading the way in etc etc.
post #10 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

This looks like the new Dock Connector I've been predicting and it can't get here soon enough with a 64GB iPhone and Touch potentially coming this year, though no competitor is matching Apple on this front, and a 128 iPad potentially coming next year.

I don't think USB 2 is the weakest link yet, though it might be in a couple years without a switch to something new. Last I measured, my iPhone was transferring files at less than a quarter of the practical bandwidth of USB 2.
post #11 of 36
Take a look at the size of the connector, then take a look at the important bit that has all the contacts. This thing could be 1/3 to 1/2 the size it is now. Every chance this could be on iphones soon. Mind you, I would still rather have wireless sync to iTunes than blistering fast cabled...
post #12 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

This is why Apple is so successful. They are not only constantly improving their software, eg., SL, but also investing R&D money and resources into every facet of production. They are leading the way in...

1.) Battery technology. (Does anyone remember the bleating on these boards about having non-replaceable batteries?) Ugh!

2.) Apple has the best laptop construction with the uni-body design. Is there another manufacturer even close?

3.) Retina display on the iPhone. Just wonderful.

4.) Touch. Look at the track pads on their laptops, magic trackpad and magic mouse. They are just brilliant.

5.) iLife.

6.) iWork.

6.) Etc., etc.

I totally agree. I used my sister's HP a few times, and the trackpad was crap. Very often, it simply would not accept my input. I have never experienced that with more than 10 years of owning and/or using Apple portables.
To add to what you're saying, Apple's philosophy of 'making the whole widget' has been a clear winner for them. It means lots of sleepless nights for their designers and engineers, but customers and consumers (i.e. customers of "competitors'" products) benefit, because 1) customers get great products from Apple and 2) Apple's competitors are forced to make better products in their Sisyphean effort to catch up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

And if Apple apologists had their way, none of these would have come about because everything would have been perfect just the way it is. And before you deny ever calling anything perfect, did you ever admit that things needed improvement? If not, then you may as well be calling everything perfect.

Haggar, you're Horrible. Never once have I heard an Apple enthusiast/fanboi/apologist use the word "perfect"--or even suggest such--to describe a newly released Apple product. Sure, many (like me!) are very excited, and think that, once again, Apple has knocked it out of the park. But, anyone with their head screwed on properly will know that their is room for improvement. And true Apple fans will trust that Apple's team of designers and engineers are pretty damn good at their job and are probably already working on Rev (n+1).
The more frequent comments that show up on these boards following a product release are, "It's nice, but I wish it had feature (x)." or, "Seriously, it needs more of (y)."
There's a difference between saying that Apple is a great company that makes great products, and saying that Apple is perfect. Anyone who says or thinks the latter is a loon.
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post #13 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuffe View Post

Mind you, I would still rather have wireless sync to iTunes than blistering fast cabled...

You still have to plug in to charge. Likely for the next decade. You might as well sync while you're doing that.
post #14 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuffe View Post

...I would still rather have wireless sync to iTunes than blistering fast cabled...

Hmmmm... Physical connections will likely always be faster than wireless. Plus, you need to plug your iDevice in to charge it. So it makes sense to let your wired interface do both. On the other hand, what you're saying makes me think that while wireless would be agonizingly slow for downloading the extended versions of the LOTR trilogy to your iDevice, it would be convenient for Time Machine-style backups and updates in the background.
It would be nice for Apple to include both capabilities. Apple's actually pretty good about giving several options/methods for performing a particular task, so who knows?
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post #15 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

You still have to plug in to charge. Likely for the next decade. You might as well sync while you're doing that.

Depends where you charge your phone. I have a dock next to my bed, and at work. I never charge from my Mac. In fact, they are never in the same room, or even on the same floor of the house. I usually charge overnight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Futuristic View Post

Hmmmm... Physical connections will likely always be faster than wireless. Plus, you need to plug your iDevice in to charge it. So it makes sense to let your wired interface do both. On the other hand, what you're saying makes me think that while wireless would be agonizingly slow for downloading the extended versions of the LOTR trilogy to your iDevice, it would be convenient for Time Machine-style backups and updates in the background.
It would be nice for Apple to include both capabilities. Apple's actually pretty good about giving several options/methods for performing a particular task, so who knows?

I don;t think they will ever give us Wireless Sync. I agree that it's better (and far simpler from a things-that-can-go-wrong perspective) for syncing music and films etc, that's much is clear (and I approve of your choice of film too) but when I do have the occasion to sync, it's usually because there is an OS update to do. It's never bitten me yet, but should my phone ever get hosed or stolen I am likely to be way out of date for the latest backup. OK, I can redownload apps any time, but my data (probably only photots will be particularly precious) is likely to be gone. Syncing this sort of thing should be quick and painless over Wifi if they chose to let us do it.

Without wanting to sound too conspiratical (is that even a word?) about this, I think they they really don't want people separating the phones and ipads etc from the desktops. They want you to have both, and forcing physical tethering for sync re-enforces this message. My iPad NEVER get's sync'd (as I don't ever put photos music or video on it). I'm thinking of getting my Dad one, and he doesn't even have a computer to sync to - I'll do it once on mine and forget it.
post #16 of 36
Change is inevitable but there is a large ecosystem built around the current connector. This isn't going to be an easy transition.
post #17 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

This is why Apple is so successful. They are not only constantly improving their software, eg., SL, but also investing R&D money and resources into every facet of production. They are leading the way in...

1.) Battery technology. (Does anyone remember the bleating on these boards about having non-replaceable batteries?) Ugh!

2.) Apple has the best laptop construction with the uni-body design. Is there another manufacturer even close?

3.) Retina display on the iPhone. Just wonderful.

4.) Touch. Look at the track pads on their laptops, magic trackpad and magic mouse. They are just brilliant.

5.) iLife.

6.) iWork.

6.) Etc., etc.

So you are saying you are impressed with Apple - is that it?

(Me too! For three decades. )
post #18 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Stop being an ass. Your silly arguments mean nothing. No reasonable person has ever made the the wilde claims you proclaim.

Saying the iPad is perfect for their needs at a single point in times for a single user doesn't mean it's the perfect tabelt for all users in all frields for ever and ever and ever. You need to learn to seperarte from what is said and what is meant.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Right arm, outta-state man !
post #19 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuffe View Post

I usually charge overnight.

So, you're part of the Borg Collective???



Quote:
I don;t think they will ever give us Wireless Sync. I agree that it's better (and far simpler from a things-that-can-go-wrong perspective) for syncing music and films etc, that's much is clear (and I approve of your choice of film too) but when I do have the occasion to sync, it's usually because there is an OS update to do. It's never bitten me yet, but should my phone ever get hosed or stolen I am likely to be way out of date for the latest backup. OK, I can redownload apps any time, but my data (probably only photots will be particularly precious) is likely to be gone. Syncing this sort of thing should be quick and painless over Wifi if they chose to let us do it.

Without wanting to sound too conspiratical (is that even a word?)*about this, I think they they really don't want people separating the phones and ipads etc from the desktops. They want you to have both, and forcing physical tethering for sync re-enforces this message. My iPad NEVER get's sync'd (as I don't ever put photos music or video on it). I'm thinking of getting my Dad one, and he doesn't even have a computer to sync to - I'll do it once on mine and forget it.

* it is now!

I guess I'm not as conspiratorial (conspiratical??) as you. Of course Apple wants you to have both. But tethered or untethered syncing is still syncing; the "message" is irrelevant.
Though with their developing cloud work, it's possible they might actually allow iDevices to live separately from Macs--allowing the cloud to be the Mother Ship rather than your Mac. Just a hypothesis.
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post #20 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuffe View Post

My iPad NEVER get's sync'd (as I don't ever put photos music or video on it). I'm thinking of getting my Dad one, and he doesn't even have a computer to sync to - I'll do it once on mine and forget it.

I don't think most would consider you to be the stereo-typical user. Atypical unless someone else knows of a user pattern like this (if so please provide estimated size & examples).

i am curious what you do with your iPad where you never need to sync anything - is it like just a mobile browser or used for streaming? Hard for me to imagine this.
post #21 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I don't think USB 2 is the weakest link yet, though it might be in a couple years without a switch to something new. Last I measured, my iPhone was transferring files at less than a quarter of the practical bandwidth of USB 2.

That's something I didn't consider. So why is the USB 2.0 data only 1/4the speed? Is this a processing limitation of the current ARM architecture, the RAM, or some other factor. Is there reason to believe offering USB3.0 or Thunderbolt will resolve any of this?
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post #22 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

Change is inevitable but there is a large ecosystem built around the current connector. This isn't going to be an easy transition.

Get a 30pin to this thin connector adaptor, problem solved. If the adaptor has a lower contour that's exactly the same as an iPhone or iPod, then it will work pretty much the same way as it's working right now. Plus it has the benefit of allowing you to use a peripheral designed for older iDevice with a new one, if you get the right shaped adaptor.
post #23 of 36
I'm amazed that something like this is even patentable. I think should draw one up with two more pins and get my own patent.
post #24 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjwal View Post

I'm amazed that something like this is even patentable. I think should draw one up with two more pins and get my own patent.

If it's a unique connector you most certainly can. And if someone wants to use it they will have to license it from you.

I guess I should ask why you think a unique connector design shouldn't be patentable?
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post #25 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

If it's a unique connector you most certainly can. And if someone wants to use it they will have to license it from you.

I guess I should ask why you think a unique connector design shouldn't be patentable?

I don't see anything paraticulary unique or non obvious about it. I guess I just have a low tolerance for trivial patents. In constrast their MagSafe connector is unique and non-trivial.
post #26 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjwal View Post

I don't see anything paraticulary unique or non obvious about it. I guess I just have a low tolerance for trivial patents. In constrast their MagSafe connector is unique and non-trivial.

How else can say it except to say that unique means unique, not cool looking. MagSafe is just a power cable and some magnets, which had been used on shipping device for at least a couple decades. If you want to know what unique means try plugging a USB cable into an Ethernet or FW port, and vice versa.
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post #27 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

You still have to plug in to charge. Likely for the next decade. You might as well sync while you're doing that.

You're looking at how you use your iOS device and not considering other usage. I rarely plug my iOS devices into my Mac for charging. I have an alarm clock that I put my iPhone into at night, I plug it into my car when driving, I plug it into my boat when sailing, and I carry portable batteries with me.

So for me (and I know many others), I'd love to be able to sync without finding and plugging in cables each time since I'm not normally charging when I do.
post #28 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

How else can say it except to say that unique means unique, not cool looking. MagSafe is just a power cable and some magnets, which had been used on shipping device for at least a couple decades. If you want to know what unique means try plugging a USB cable into an Ethernet or FW port, and vice versa.

I do know what unique means and I also know that adding a few lines and changing the size can hardly be considered unique.
post #29 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by macslut View Post

You're looking at how you use your iOS device and not considering other usage. I rarely plug my iOS devices into my Mac for charging. I have an alarm clock that I put my iPhone into at night, I plug it into my car when driving, I plug it into my boat when sailing, and I carry portable batteries with me.

So for me (and I know many others), I'd love to be able to sync without finding and plugging in cables each time since I'm not normally charging when I do.

Sure, that would be great but that doesn't mean it's the best option. There are a lot of pitfalls associated with OTA syncing of large amounts of data, but considering Apple hasn't been able to get it right with MobileMe for relatively inconsequential amounts of data for contacts, calendar, bookmarks and notes I wouldn't be holding my breath for the ability to sync an entire iDevice worth of data which is now up to 64GB for the largest WiFi-capable devices.

Assuming Apple will get a handle on syncing and Lion's Local Snaphots are a sign of things to come they would also need to have a system in place that would gauge how mug data will be processed against the transfer speed and remaining battery life. Will this work on battery power? If so, what is the minimum needed so that your phone is made completely unusable by this syncing? Will they cap the amount of data to be synced over WiFi to prevent this? How will this affect the local network speed? How will this affect the host computer you're syncing to? Will it disallow a sync if the network is wing congested or the battery is low or will be saturate the local network and sync until it goes into sleep mode? How would the average consumer feel about this? Would they understand the processes inaction enough to intelligently disable/enable this feature?

Should Apple bother with that to satisfy a few geeks or go with a more sound solution?

In a similar vein, what about OTA updates? Would a 600MB iPhone update over a limited plan from a carrier be something consumers as a whole woul be okay with? What about the network usage slowdown and battery drain when this happens in the background? Will the system check for 600MB of free space before initiation the OTA update in the background or will Apple reserve the free space beforehand on a hidden partition like it does with Lion? Does this mean that root access can be had from a wireless connection potentially inadvertently corrupting millions of units away from a viable iTunes-based backup and restore system? Could this service be hacked and being down millions of iPhones from someone(s) not even within the country(ies) of the attcack?

These a few of the things that come to mind
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post #30 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

And if Apple apologists had their way, none of these would have come about because everything would have been perfect just the way it is. And before you deny ever calling anything perfect, did you ever admit that things needed improvement? If not, then you may as well be calling everything perfect.

I just reread my post...I don't see the word "perfect" in it at all.

Best
post #31 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

Less USB3, more Light Peak please, unless of course Intel decide to fully support USB3.

I'm dissappointed with the inconsistant USB3 implementations at the moment.





Could you imagine if they weren't leading the way in iLife and iWork... that would be weird!

Also, I'm pretty sure Google are leading the way in etc etc.

Yep, Firefly...it was late and I did get a little off track with those last points!

Best
post #32 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

That's something I didn't consider. So why is the USB 2.0 data only 1/4the speed? Is this a processing limitation of the current ARM architecture, the RAM, or some other factor. Is there reason to believe offering USB3.0 or Thunderbolt will resolve any of this?

USB's bandwidth potential is a maximum only and is usually only achieved in bursts. This is one of the reasons it has always been so much slower than Firewire. Thunderbolt is much more like Firewire in terms of overall throughput compared w/USB. Less spiky, more steady and much faster.
post #33 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuffe View Post

Take a look at the size of the connector, then take a look at the important bit that has all the contacts. This thing could be 1/3 to 1/2 the size it is now. Every chance this could be on iphones soon. Mind you, I would still rather have wireless sync to iTunes than blistering fast cabled...

There is too much electromagnetic pollution in our homes already. Some scientists are finding that electromagnetic frequencies have a harmful effect on our brains and body functions.

I hope that all computer products will maintain the option to turn off their broadcasted signals. I don't own a cell phone or use wireless connections in my home.

What will all the companies do when real long term data comes out proving that cell phone users are being harmed by the extremely high frequency microwaves being blasted into their skulls? Cell phone towers are even worse for the residents around them.
post #34 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A patent recently granted to Apple reveals that the company is looking into a modified dock connector compatible with newer high-speed communication standards, such as USB 3.0 and a "dual-lane DisplayPort," or Thunderbolt, connector.

I don't think that "dual-lane DisplayPort" has anything to do with Thunderbolt. Displayport uses 1 to 4 lanes; effective data rate 1.296, 2.16, or 4.32 Gbit/s per lane (total 5.184, 8.64, or 17.28 Gbit/s for a 4-lane link). This implementation probably limits displayport to 8.64Gb/s (or up to a single 2560 × 1600 × 30 bpp @ 60 Hz display) over two lanes. That's probably why the displayport section of the new connector only use 7 pins from the 20 pins on a regular displayport connector.

Main Link Lane 0+
Main Link Lane 0-
Main Link Lane 1+
Main Link Lane 1-
AUX CH+
AUX CH-
Hot Plug Detect or whatever utility pin
post #35 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

This looks like the new Dock Connector I've been predicting and it can't get here soon enough with a 64GB iPhone and Touch potentially coming this year, though no competitor is matching Apple on this front, and a 128 iPad potentially coming next year.

60 pins. I wonder what the final size will be. I assume it's thinner than the current Dock Connector, but how wide will it be? (rhetorical)

Oh, and what christopher126 said, too.

How many people said "no way" when a few of us were discussing the possibility?

The bandwidth would be much appreciated, especially when synching HD video files. It might extend the capabilities as well. Hmmm. Time to be wrong again.
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post #36 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by spliff monkey View Post

How many people said "no way" when a few of us were discussing the possibility?

The bandwidth would be much appreciated, especially when synching HD video files. It might extend the capabilities as well. Hmmm. Time to be wrong again.

Yeah, even if we don't expect the tech to be rest for awhile it seems impossible to imagine Apple implementing an entirely new data protocol in conjunction with Intel and ignore the 100+ million iOS-based iDevices it will be selling each year. I just hope thy able to get this chip into the iPhone starting this year.
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