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Apple pushing Mini DisplayPort through no-fee licenses

post #1 of 89
Thread Starter 
Apple is offering no-fee Mini DisplayPort licenses to anyone interested in designing products around the new specification, a move the company hopes will take the fledgling display connector mainstream.

The Mini DisplayPort is a small form factor connector invented by Apple to fully support the VESA DisplayPort protocol. Unlike the Mini-DVI and Micro-DVI connectors common on previous generation Apple products, the port is capable of driving resolutions up to 2560x1600, which is commonly used on 30-inch displays.

In an update to its software licensing page spotted by ArsTechnica, Apple announced that it's not charging for Mini DisplayPort licenses, which can be obtained by filling out a Mini DisplayPort Implementation Agreement [PDF].

The Cupertino-based company notes that Mini DisplayPort is "particularly useful on systems where space is at a premium, such as portable computers or to support multiple connectors on reduced height add-in cards."

Mini DisplayPort can already be found on the latest family of MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and MacBook Airs, in addition to the new 24-inch LED Cinema Display. Apple has also said it plans to implement the connector on all of its future Mac designs.

By offering no-fee licenses, the Mac maker hopes other PC vendors will adopt MiniDisplay port and help build a market for compatible devices. The move also presents the possibility that third parties will develop some well sought-after solutions, like a Mini DispayPort to HDMI adapter for hooking MacBooks up to HDTVs and a connector that will allow older Macs to connect to the new 24-inch LED Apple Cinema Display.
post #2 of 89
Yeah... good luck with that.
post #3 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaiser777 View Post

Yeah... good luck with that.

They are likely to succeed actually.
Apple sells a very large % of notebooks vs their market share of desktops. So there will be accessory makers and monitors that support this port.

So at a minimum, monitor manufacturers will use it...either in DisplayPort <-> Mini Display Port adapters or on the monitors themselves.

And since Apple isn't requesting money for it, and its fully compatible with the larger size, I would expect others to use it. Many are focusing on these new Netbooks, its perfect for those.
post #4 of 89
But displayport is license-free. Just because Apple like to cram things down to the bare minimum doesn't mean PC manufacturers who don't do this anyway will jump on board with Apple's version of an open standard port.

Methinks the industry will go in whatever direction is opposite to what Apple want.

Also, I don't see what's so 'mini' about the port. It looks like Mini-DVI. The actual displayport connector is half the height of that at least:

http://www.notebookreview.com/assets/21631.jpg

Maybe there's something in the way the port is designed that makes it more compact but the plug doesn't look like much of an improvement.

I can see the PC industry adopting the actual displayport meaning Apple products will all need an adaptor. Apple could get a bad reputation over this given that a decent standard was made, Apple went ahead with a proprietary version and made themselves incompatible.
post #5 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

But displayport is license-free. Just because Apple like to cram things down to the bare minimum doesn't mean PC manufacturers who don't do this anyway will jump on board with Apple's version of an open standard port.

Methinks the industry will go in whatever direction is opposite to what Apple want.

Also, I don't see what's so 'mini' about the port. It looks like Mini-DVI. The actual displayport connector is half the height of that at least:

http://www.notebookreview.com/assets/21631.jpg

Maybe there's something in the way the port is designed that makes it more compact but the plug doesn't look like much of an improvement.

I can see the PC industry adopting the actual displayport meaning Apple products will all need an adaptor. Apple could get a bad reputation over this given that a decent standard was made, Apple went ahead with a proprietary version and made themselves incompatible.

Also it can drive much higher resolution displays.
post #6 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

But displayport is license-free. Just because Apple like to cram things down to the bare minimum doesn't mean PC manufacturers who don't do this anyway will jump on board with Apple's version of an open standard port.

Methinks the industry will go in whatever direction is opposite to what Apple want.

Also, I don't see what's so 'mini' about the port. It looks like Mini-DVI. The actual displayport connector is half the height of that at least:

http://www.notebookreview.com/assets/21631.jpg

Maybe there's something in the way the port is designed that makes it more compact but the plug doesn't look like much of an improvement.

I can see the PC industry adopting the actual displayport meaning Apple products will all need an adaptor. Apple could get a bad reputation over this given that a decent standard was made, Apple went ahead with a proprietary version and made themselves incompatible.

I think they have a good shot at it. Apple isn't in the position it was before.
post #7 of 89
It would be nice to see a display adaptor for current Mac pros with
1. this mini display port
2. the ability to support the new vector processing extensions coming in Snow Leopard
3. integration with blu-ray playback
post #8 of 89
I thought display port itself was open source and therefore license-free. So isn't Apple just offering the "mini" part for free?
post #9 of 89
This is good news. At the very least we'll get some cheap adapters from 3rd parties. If more and more display manufacturers invest in the adapter, all the better.
post #10 of 89
Apple designed the mini Display Port. Its not apart of the official display port project. Until it is approved by VESA, Mini Display Port is Apple's intellectual property.

For those who have been criticizing mini display port. i told you Apple did not intend for it to be proprietary only to Apple.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

I thought display port itself was open source and therefore license-free. So isn't Apple just offering the "mini" part for free?
post #11 of 89
Since Display port is brand new. Few have yet adopted it. The mini port has many advantages.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaiser777 View Post

Yeah... good luck with that.
post #12 of 89
At the very least, it offers reassurance to cable makers that they can make cables based on this standard. The status of mini-DVI looked ambiguous to me, and almost no one made cables with mini-DVI on the ends, and I think only one company that wasn't Apple offered adapters. I would much prefer to have a direct cable than use clunky adapters, so if I ever do get another Mac notebook, I might have a shot at that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Also, I don't see what's so 'mini' about the port. It looks like Mini-DVI. The actual displayport connector is half the height of that at least:

http://www.notebookreview.com/assets/21631.jpg

The width of the port is probably the biggest issue in terms of edge space on their notebook, and mini displayport looks to be about half that width.
post #13 of 89
Oh yeah they go in the total opposite direction of Apple.

PC laptops are becoming sleeker and thinner. Dell and Gateway building iMac like AIO desktops. Dell using a black border around the bezel of its monitors. Sony using MacBook like keyboards on its newer laptops.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Methinks the industry will go in whatever direction is opposite to what Apple want.
post #14 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Also, I don't see what's so 'mini' about the port. It looks like Mini-DVI. The actual displayport connector is half the height of that at least:

http://www.notebookreview.com/assets/21631.jpg
.

The mini-DisplayPort is actually about 1/4 the size of a mini-DVI port*I thought the same as you until I saw the little booger up close. I tend to agree that it's a pain in the rear standard, however, at the prices Apple charges for adaptors... $29 each is absurd. Not to mention the fact that there is no video output options (for Composite or S-Video) like there was with the older standards.
post #15 of 89
Apple should have done this with F i r e w i r e ages ago.
post #16 of 89
Apple willing to give up firewire, why in the world would you expect them to continue to support composite and S-Video? The audio video industry is moving on to component and HDMI.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bweston View Post

(for Composite or S-Video) like there was with the older standards.
post #17 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

At the very least, it offers reassurance to cable makers that they can make cables based on this standard.

That's the critcal part as far as I'm concerned. Display makers can go ahead and put the full-size DisplayPort (or DVI) on their displays since space isn't an issue. As long as you can get a reasonably priced cable without needing an adaptor, that's fine.

More important (to me) would be to get a mini-DisplayPort to HDMI cable, supporting HDCP, since I'd be interested in getting a Mac mini as a HTPC if/when it's upgraded (assuming that gives me the ability to buy/rent HD content from iTunes). And as long as I'm making MacWorld wishes, a blu-ray drive in the mini would be nice, except the DisplayPort standard doesn't support Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD audio. Can either of those be output on the digital audio outs in Apple's computers and combined with DisplayPort into and HDMI cable/signal?
post #18 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Also, I don't see what's so 'mini' about the port. It looks like Mini-DVI. The actual displayport connector is half the height of that at least:

You must be jesting...or looking at photos which aren't the same scale.

When I hold my new MBP over an older one with DVI connector, I'm amazed at how small the port actually is. Slightly less than half the width of a USB port and not as high. The old DVI port is downright cavernous by comparison.
post #19 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

That's the critcal part as far as I'm concerned. Display makers can go ahead and put the full-size DisplayPort (or DVI) on their displays since space isn't an issue. As long as you can get a reasonably priced cable without needing an adaptor, that's fine.

More important (to me) would be to get a mini-DisplayPort to HDMI cable, supporting HDCP, since I'd be interested in getting a Mac mini as a HTPC if/when it's upgraded (assuming that gives me the ability to buy/rent HD content from iTunes). And as long as I'm making MacWorld wishes, a blu-ray drive in the mini would be nice, except the DisplayPort standard doesn't support Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD audio. Can either of those be output on the digital audio outs in Apple's computers and combined with DisplayPort into and HDMI cable/signal?

Adapters are a fact of life. Every standard actually has several different connector designs that need adapters. Why should this be different?

Look through these pages to see what I mean.

http://www.cyberguys.com/templates/s...20&%20Adapters
post #20 of 89
There was nothing wrong with the original DisplayPort - it was already very small. Apple has taken what could have been a single standard for everybody and split it in two. Very bad form. Bad engineering.
post #21 of 89
The standard display port is likely too big to fit the MB Air. This is good design in the sense that it standardizes a size port across all Apple's devices.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

There was nothing wrong with the original DisplayPort - it was already very small. Apple has taken what could have been a single standard for everybody and split it in two. Very bad form. Bad engineering.
post #22 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

There was nothing wrong with the original DisplayPort - it was already very small. Apple has taken what could have been a single standard for everybody and split it in two. Very bad form. Bad engineering.

Bad engineering is when the device doesn't work well, or serve its purpose.

Neither seems to be the case here so far as we know.

You're just not happy it's a different, smaller, size.

The thing here is that DisplayPort is still so new, that very little products have it.

This means that the "standard" size port isn't really standard yet. That means that if Apple sells enough computers with this one, it will stand a good chance to have other manufacturers want to supply products that interface with it.

Even if we just find mini to standard cables coming out, it's fine.
post #23 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM

The width of the port is probably the biggest issue in terms of edge space on their notebook, and mini displayport looks to be about half that width.

Yeah, that seems to be it. The Apple spec for Mini-displayport is here:

http://developer.apple.com/softwarel...ions111908.pdf

where the width is 7.4mm. Displayport is slighly narrower than a VGA plug, which is 17mm - I'd estimate about 15mm wide. The height of Mini-displayport is round about the same as displayport at 4.5mm.

Some may say that it's clearly worth it to save half the width but really, if you look at your scrollbar at the side of the browser window, it's not even two of those wide that's being saved. Was it really worth the expense of all the adaptors and new display connectors to save that amount rather than just go with displayport?

I guess this early on, because displayport hasn't taken off yet, it's not so risky and logically, people should opt for the smaller port but why hasn't Apple made a Mini-displayport to HDMI and displayport yet? It's a bit suspicious.

It seems to me like the kind of move that Sony made with Blu-Ray bundling it with their PS3s. If the industry takes on mini-displayport, Apple are the ones with the most mini-displayport products to sell. Dell has gone with standard displayport.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell

Oh yeah they go in the total opposite direction of Apple.

PC laptops are becoming sleeker and thinner. Dell and Gateway building iMac like AIO desktops. Dell using a black border around the bezel of its monitors. Sony using MacBook like keyboards on its newer laptops.

I should have said they go in whatever direction competes with Apple. Going with displayport will hurt Apple's sales if their displays have mini-displayport.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bweston

The mini-DisplayPort is actually about 1/4 the size of a mini-DVI port*I thought the same as you until I saw the little booger up close. I tend to agree that it's a pain in the rear standard, however, at the prices Apple charges for adaptors... $29 each is absurd. Not to mention the fact that there is no video output options (for Composite or S-Video) like there was with the older standards.

Definitely, the size is a small advantage but doesn't make up for the cost and lack of compatibility. Composite and s-video are still needed for older projectors and things. Perhaps you can do Mini-displayport > DVI > s-video or something but chaining up adaptors gets a bit annoying.

Overall, if the industry takes the standard on board then I'm all for it as it means cheap adaptors and assured compatibility. If they go with displayport instead, it's just going to be a nuisance and desktop and laptop users will need adaptors all the time unless you get all Apple products.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell

The standard display port is likely too big to fit the MB Air.

But no port is too big to fit on a product. You build the product to accommodate the components. This is always the problem with Apple. It's as if they build the box first, try to fit stuff in and leave out things that can't fit or redesigns them.

Sony can fit firewire, ethernet, an optical drive, two USB ports, video-out and an SD card reader onto a 10" ultra-portable. For Apple to only fit 1 usb, no optical, ethernet and video-out on a 13" machine says to me that they aren't very good technical engineers. Sure the Sonys are much slower but still, it's not about it fitting, it's about choices. Apple chose to design it in a way that meant they couldn't fit a reasonably sized port on it.
post #24 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Also, I don't see what's so 'mini' about the port. It looks like Mini-DVI. The actual displayport connector is half the height of that at least:

http://www.notebookreview.com/assets/21631.jpg

Maybe there's something in the way the port is designed that makes it more compact but the plug doesn't look like much of an improvement.

The picture you posted only shows full-size DisplayPort. The smallest DVI connector Apple produced was the Micro-DVI port on the first generation MacBook Air. Looking at the picture below, it's pretty obvious Mini DisplayPort is considerably smaller than full-size DSP and a bit smaller than Micro-DVI:


Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I can see the PC industry adopting the actual displayport meaning Apple products will all need an adaptor. Apple could get a bad reputation over this given that a decent standard was made, Apple went ahead with a proprietary version and made themselves incompatible.

Mini DisplayPort is not proprietary, it is a miniaturized version of DisplayPort - has the same number of pins and everything. It's as "proprietary" as Mini-USB is compared to USB.

You can see whatever you want to see. In reality, the desktop PC is dead and dying compared to the fast growing laptop market. Mini DisplayPort is a far better option for these compact portables. So far there have only been (literally) a couple of full-DSP monitors from Dell and HP and a few full-DSP equipped IBM ThinkPads.

Meanwhile, Apple's entire notebook fleet (well, except for the 17" Pro, which should be out by the time Macworld gets here, or soon after) features Mini DisplayPort connections, they have one very attractive Mini-DSP, LED-backlit Cinema Display (with the 30" model to follow surely within the next few months), and it's almost a given they'll implement the standard on their desktop computers at Macworld or in the months following.

Mac sales are outpacing the industry 4-to-1, so Apple's competition would be smart to use their Mini DisplayPort standard.
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post #25 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Bad engineering is when the device doesn't work well, or serve its purpose.

Neither seems to be the case here so far as we know.

But there's no physical reason the standard DisplayPort couldn't fit. So no obvious technical reason to invent a new port, except for lack of engineering skill or underhanded commercial reasons. I didn't want to mention the 2nd without evidence so I said "bad engineering."
post #26 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Overall, if the industry takes the standard on board then I'm all for it as it means cheap adaptors and assured compatibility. If they go with displayport instead, it's just going to be a nuisance and desktop and laptop users will need adaptors all the time unless you get all Apple products.

You are just making a worse case prediction. Their is no reason for no one else to use mini Display port.


Quote:
But no port is too big to fit on a product. You build the product to accommodate the components. This is always the problem with Apple. It's as if they build the box first, try to fit stuff in and leave out things that can't fit or redesigns them.

When has that been a design philosophy. You build a computer around the size of its bulkiest ports? Instead of using a smaller port to streamline the product.

Quote:
Sony can fit firewire, ethernet, an optical drive, two USB ports, video-out and an SD card reader onto a 10" ultra-portable. For Apple to only fit 1 usb, no optical, ethernet and video-out on a 13" machine says to me that they aren't very good technical engineers. Sure the Sonys are much slower but still, it's not about it fitting, it's about choices. Apple chose to design it in a way that meant they couldn't fit a reasonably sized port on it.

Sony notebooks are thin in the front and become thicker where they need the bulky ports and components.

The Air is .76 inches thick from the front to the back because of the slim ports and no optical drive.
post #27 of 89
Only if you ignore the fact that the standard display port cannot fit into the Air.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

But there's no physical reason the standard DisplayPort couldn't fit. So no
obvious technical reason to invent a new port, except for lack of engineering skill or underhanded commercial reasons. I didn't want to mention the 2nd without evidence so I said "bad engineering."
post #28 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Apple designed the mini Display Port. Its not apart of the official display port project. Until it is approved by VESA, Mini Display Port is Apple's intellectual property.

For those who have been criticizing mini display port. i told you Apple did not intend for it to be proprietary only to Apple.


Don't gloat just yet. By your own admission, the Mini DisplayPort connector is not part of the official DisplayPort spec. And we don't know if it ever will be. If Apple really is interested in having Mini DisplayPort become an industry standard, then they should have gotten the spec approved first, before putting the connector in their products. That way, they could tell customers "Apple follows industry standards. The Mini DisplayPort connector is an official part of the DisplayPort spec". But right now, all Apple can say is "We released our new products with a proprietary Mini DisplayPort connector, but we hope it gets adopted by VESA".
post #29 of 89
Apple openly licensing the mini port makes it becoming apart of the official spec less crucial. Anyone is free to use it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

Don't gloat just yet. By your own admission, the Mini DisplayPort connector is not part of the official DisplayPort spec.
post #30 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

But right now, all Apple can say is "We released our new products with a proprietary Mini DisplayPort connector, but we hope it gets adopted by VESA".

Mini DisplayPort is not proprietary for crying out loud! Not only is it part of the official spec, it has the same number of pins. It's simply a miniaturized version that makes much more sense for use with laptops.
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post #31 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

Mini DisplayPort is not proprietary for crying out loud! Not only is it part of the official spec, it has the same number of pins...

Try telling that to TenoBell. Wouldn't an "official spec" also include the shape and dimensions of the connectors and ports, which manufacturers would have to follow in order to comply with the "official spec"? And if Mini DisplayPort really is "part of the official spec", then why would third parties have to get a license from Apple? Shouldn't they go straight to VESA, since that's where the "official spec" would come from?
post #32 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

Try telling that to TenoBell. Wouldn't an "official spec" also include the shape and dimensions of the connectors and ports?

By that logic, mini-USB would be proprietary (and Mini DisplayPort is even closer to "full" DisplayPort than mini-USB is to "full" USB).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

And if Mini DisplayPort really is "part of the official spec", then why would third parties have to get a license from Apple? Shouldn't they go straight to VESA?

Because it's Apple's contribution, not VESA's. Now I could see a problem if Apple was charging licensing fees for use of Mini DisplayPort, which is based on "full" DisplayPort, an open, industry standard...but they're not.

I'd suggest reading this fairly brief, recent article on the subject:
http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2008/1...i-displayport/


EDIT

Rereading my original response, perhaps I should have said Mini DisplayPort is based on the official spec, rather than part of the official spec because as we all know, VESA hasn't technically approved it (or denounced it). What is important is that Mini DSP has the same pin count as "full" DSP.
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post #33 of 89
Another stab at ADC. Good luck Apple...
post #34 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by tmedia1 View Post

Another stab at ADC. Good luck Apple...

Wrong. Do yourself a favor and read my post right above yours (and if necessary, the article I linked to).
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post #35 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Apple openly licensing the mini port makes it becoming apart of the official spec less crucial. Anyone is free to use it.

How is this different from Microsoft pushing their Office XML format through ISO, or their treatment of internet standards in Internet Explorer?
post #36 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

How is this different from Microsoft pushing their Office XML format through ISO, or their treatment of internet standards in Internet Explorer?

Er...because one, Mini DSP, is just a miniaturized, laptop-friendly version based on the official DSP spec, while the other...is Office XML pushed through the ISO by Microsoft.

Did you read this article I linked to in response to your comments?
http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2008/1...i-displayport/
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post #37 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Only if you ignore the fact that the standard display port cannot fit into the Air.

What are you basing that on? From what I can tell, the Mini DisplayPort receptacle is 5.40mm high, see page 6:
http://developer.apple.com/softwarel...ions111908.pdf

The full sized connector is only 6.08mm high (see page 201 of 1.1a spec, downloadable free from vesa.org, but not linkable).

That is less than 1mm difference. In the original spec they even said it was designed with ultra thin notebooks in mind. And looking at a photo of the Air there is plenty of room for a wider connector.

I think Apple probably had a reason other than size.
post #38 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

By that logic, mini-USB would be proprietary (and Mini DisplayPort is even closer to "full" DisplayPort than mini-USB is to "full" USB).

No, because the Mini USB-B connector was actually developed and promoted as a standard by the USB group, rather than a single company creating its own connector. In the same way, the Mini HDMI connector is also officially sanctioned by the HDMI association.
post #39 of 89
I think this can succeed cause of a few reasons:
1. No licensing fee, which manufacturer would want to miss it if more manufacturer start placing mini display port
2. There is not many negatives in using a mini display port
3. Other company have the tendency of following what Apple does, remember the notebook webcam? multi-touch gestures (of course other company dont have the same multi-touch but they are improving their trackpad)?
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post #40 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

What are you basing that on?

I'm basing on the fact that Apple used mini port instead of the standard port. Its a tight space and 1mm probably made a difference.
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