Apple granted patent for dock connector with USB 3.0, Thunderbolt

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
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.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 35
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 35
    haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 35
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 35
    dbhdbh Posts: 41member
    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??
  • Reply 6 of 35
    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
  • Reply 7 of 35
    boeyc15boeyc15 Posts: 986member
    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?
  • Reply 8 of 35
    firefly7475firefly7475 Posts: 1,502member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 35
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 35
    stuffestuffe Posts: 391member
    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...
  • Reply 11 of 35
    futuristicfuturistic Posts: 599member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 35
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 35
    futuristicfuturistic Posts: 599member
    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?
  • Reply 14 of 35
    stuffestuffe Posts: 391member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 35
    benroethigbenroethig Posts: 2,782member
    Change is inevitable but there is a large ecosystem built around the current connector. This isn't going to be an easy transition.
  • Reply 16 of 35
    damn_its_hotdamn_its_hot Posts: 1,186member
    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. )
  • Reply 17 of 35
    damn_its_hotdamn_its_hot Posts: 1,186member
    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 !
  • Reply 18 of 35
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 35
    damn_its_hotdamn_its_hot Posts: 1,186member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 35
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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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