Apple exploring USB 3.0, DisplayPort combo in new mini connector

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 75
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,580member
    Why the hell is this stuff patentable? Oooh, a plurality of contacts!!
  • Reply 2 of 75
    msanttimsantti Posts: 1,377member
    I would rather see "Light Peak".
  • Reply 3 of 75
    josh.b.josh.b. Posts: 353member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple's solution describes a cable that employs two new standards -- USB 3.0 and DisplayPort -- in one connector.



    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.
  • Reply 4 of 75
    cvaldes1831cvaldes1831 Posts: 1,832member
    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...
  • Reply 5 of 75
    gotapplegotapple Posts: 115member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 75
    old-wizold-wiz Posts: 194member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 75
    josh.b.josh.b. Posts: 353member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post


    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...



    That's the way I feel about adaptors. The output of Apple's proprietary cable will need to have a Y cable attached to it in order to connect to standard TVs and other CE stuff.



    HDMI works great. The Apple solution will need a proprietary adaptor, in addition to the proprietary cable, in order to convert to HDMI so it will work with most stuff.



    HDMI consolidates video and audio. It is a standard format.
  • Reply 8 of 75
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 75
    rokkenrokken Posts: 236member
    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?
  • Reply 10 of 75
    cmf2cmf2 Posts: 1,427member
    The picture looks like it could still accommodate a standard USB plug, it wouldn't be that bad if that was the case.
  • Reply 11 of 75
    oflifeoflife Posts: 120member
    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...)
  • Reply 12 of 75
    josh.b.josh.b. Posts: 353member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post


    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.



    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?
  • Reply 13 of 75
    ctachmectachme Posts: 28member
    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
  • Reply 14 of 75
    brookstbrookst Posts: 62member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 75
    kedmondkedmond Posts: 3member
    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...
  • Reply 16 of 75
    josh.b.josh.b. Posts: 353member
    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



    Bingo. Sony pulls this crap all the time, with proprietary formats and all.



    I've thought for a while that Apple is going the way of Sony, trying to use their muscle to force proprietary junk onto their users. Sony products were always high quality and well-engineered. But their corporate policies made me vow to never again buy another Sony product.



    Since then, I've bought/built 4 computers, a netbook, two DVD players, 7 cell phones, two big-screen TVs, a tablet media player, a center channel speaker, a huge subwoofer, back channel speakers, and lots of other stuff. Not one of these products has been a Sony.
  • Reply 17 of 75
    rob55rob55 Posts: 1,255member
    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?
  • Reply 18 of 75
    dahacoukdahacouk Posts: 74member
    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! ;-/
  • Reply 19 of 75
    josh.b.josh.b. Posts: 353member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rob55 View Post


    You know any Macs with eSATA?



    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?
  • Reply 20 of 75
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,742member
    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.
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