On June 27, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a key new combination input port. The new port will save on space as the MacBook Air continues to get thinner. But where the invention really gets interesting is when the combination port could be used in Apple's hot iPhone and iPad designs. Until Apple launches their iPad Mini with Retina, I bought my wife an 8GB HP Slate the other day and purchased a 32 GB SD Data Card. The first thought that came to mind was why doesn't Apple provide this option? Today we know why. Apple's Jony Ive will be able to design his future iDevice magic without having to take up space for an SD Card Slot. That's Apple, the innovator – dong what they do best: Create cool devices with features that drive the copycat competition crazy.
Apple Invents New Combination Port
Apple's invention may take the form of an input port for an electronic device for receiving different types of connectors, memory cards, plugs and the like. The input port includes an outer wall defining a receiving aperture, a substrate positioned within the receiving aperture. A first set of contacts is positioned on the substrate at a first depth into the receiving aperture and a second set of contacts is positioned on a first surface of the outer wall at a second depth into the receiving aperture. The first set of contacts is configured to communicate with a first connector and the second set of contacts is configured to communicate with a second connector.
Connectors and Plugs for the Input Port
Apple patent describes a combination port accommodating both a USB plug with an SD Flash memory card that may be used in a MacBook, but also may be aimed at future iDevices such as the iPhone, iPad and other devices including a gaming device and television.
It should be closely noted that although Apple's patent figures illustrate a USB plug, other variations of the USB plug may also be received within the input port 104. For example, the USB plug 110 may be a USB2 or USB3 plug.
Considering that the patent predates the iPhone 5, Apple doesn't list their marketing brand Lightning connector. Yet this is definitely one of the options for Apple as they don't use a micro USB which is listed in their patent claim number 12. They now use a Lightning connector for the iPhone and for future iPads. This is the secret suprise that this patent delivers, and it's a huge surprise indeed.
This could be a welcomed feature, especially for iDevices. Being able to easily add more memory to an iDevice is going to be a huge positive. And the combined input port is going to allow Jony Ive and team to design iDevices without wasting space for a dedicated SD Card.
Apple credits Changsoo Jang as the inventors of patent application 20130166786 which was originally filed in Q4 2011 and published today by the US Patent Office.
A series of other MacBook related patents surfaced today regarding different aspects of the Keyboard. You could review them by clicking the following links: Keyboard with Position Sensing Mechanism, Keyboard Mechanisms for Electronic Devices, Illuminated Keyboard and Boned Keyboard and Method for Making the Same.
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