The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of eight newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our second granted patent report of the day we have a real surprise. Apple has just won a patent for an all-new Hybrid DisplayPort/USB 3.0 high speed connector. This new and extremely slim connector will work on all iOS devices like the iPod and eventually work its way through Apple's entire hardware lineup. Apple has just introduced another high-speed connector called Thunderbolt and we know that they're also working on a new fiber optic based connector for the future. Yet this latest hybrid connector looks like a winner and one that we might see come to market later this year in handhelds or in 2012 when Intel Macs debut with USB 3.0. But let's be honest here: Wouldn't we all like to see this debut on the iPhone 5? Hmm, I think that I'm hearing a thunderous yes on that question.
Granted Patent: All New Connector
Apple has been granted a powerful patent that packs quite the wallop. Somehow they snuck a secret patent application through the system for an all-new high speed connector that will combine at least USB 3.0 and DisplayPort. Although the patent illustrates an iPod as being one of the first to adopt this, the patent clarifies that it's for all future Mac hardware as well.
Electronic devices such as media players and related devices have become ubiquitous over the past several years. As they have proliferated, the types and styles of electronic devices have diversified. During this time, a theme has been that consumers want more functionality packed into an ever-decreasing form factor.
At the same time, many new high-speed communication standards have been developed. Examples of these new standards include the new high-speed USB3, DisplayPort, and others. Although it is desirable to have an electronic device such as a media player be able to use these new high-speed communication standards, these new standards are often tough to meet. Meanwhile, it is also desirable that electronic devices be able to also communicate using conventional signaling such as analog audio and video.
Also, as the styles and types of electronic devices such as media players are expected to continue to multiply, it is desirable that these new styles and types be able to be introduced quickly to the marketplace.
Accordingly, Apple's invention and patent cover various embodiments that could deliver male plug connectors and female receptacle in a reduced size – in at least one direction. Some embodiments of the present invention provide support for one or more new high-speed communication standards such as USB 3.0 and DisplayPort - combined. Further embodiments of the present invention could provide one or more standardized connector components to speed connector design and manufacture of new electronic devices such as media players, thus reducing their time to market. These electronic devices may range from smaller hand-held devices, which may include portable media players, to larger devices, such as laptop or desktop computers. An embodiment of the present invention may provide a male plug connector having a reduced height.
Apple's patent FIG. 3A illustrates a perspective view of a receptacle connector 350 that could carry multiple high-speed data signals.
In some embodiments, connectors 300 and 350 could provide support for USB 3.0 (USB3) and legacy USB 2.0 (USB2). In one embodiment, the connectors include two USB2 contacts, four USB3 contacts, and a USB power and a ground contact. The USB3 standard is specified to transfer data at a "Super Speed" of 4.8 Gbps.
Apple's patent FIG. 6 shows an example of the types and specific number of signals that may be carried on connectors.
Apple's patent FIG. 10 illustrates perspective and front views of a receptacle connector 1000 that has a reduced height. In this example, the reduction in height is achieved by eliminating a space between insulator core 1020 and a bottom of shell 1010. In other words, the tab or tongue that is often included in connectors is not present here.
Random Patent Illustrations of the Newly Proposed Connector
For more detailed information about this hybrid connector, see granted patent 7,918,689. Apple credits Jason Sloey, Brian Lynch and Stephen Zadesky as the inventors of this patent which was originally filed in Q3 2009. It should also be noted that Apple has been working on a fiber optics connector which we covered in our December 2010 report titled "Apple's Next Iteration of MagSafe May Include Fiber Optics."
Granted Patent: Mobile Newsreader
On this day, Apple has been granted a patent for their .Mac Reader that is available on all iOS devices.
Apple's granted patent relates to mobile devices, and to systems and methods for using a mobile device to access information formatted as a web feed or channel, such as information encoded in an RSS format.
Apple credits Stephane Lunati, Ken Goto, John Martin, May-Li Khoe and Helen Ma as the inventors of Granted Patent 7,921,187 originally filed in Q2 2007.
And lastly, Apple has been granted a design patent for their original and lickable MacBook Air.
Notice: Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of patents with associated graphic(s) for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application and/or Granted Patent is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent application and/or Issued Patent should be read in its entirety for further details. Patents shouldn't be digested as rumors or fast-tracked according to rumor time tables. Apple patents represent true research that could lead to future products and should be understood in that light. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.
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