Apple has filed a patent application with the US Patent and Trademark Office for a hybrid USB/SD port which combines a USB port with SD card slot to save space to make notebooks slimmer. Ultrabook vendors are concerned because they are worried that if Apple obtains the patent, it will gain the upper hand in competition for slim notebooks, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers.
The DigiTimes report sources pointed out that Apple's patents for MacBook Air's wedge-shape industrial design in June 2012 already forced many brand vendors to now use the design, which can significantly reduce the size and weight of the system. With the hybrid USB/SD port patent, the sources are concerned that it could give Apple more advantages in design.
DigiTimes added that Taiwan-based connector maker Kuang Ying pointed out that a conventional SD card port has a width of about 27.1mm and a USB port about 13.5mm. If the two ports are combined, brand vendors will be able to save about 12-13mm of space on their notebooks' exterior design, allowing them to add more functions.
If the supply chain makers are freaking out over Apple's patent pending hybrid port for notebooks, you have to wonder how Apple's smartphone and tablet competitors are feeling right now.
The US Patent and Trademark Office published Apple's original patent on June 27, revealing the new combination input port which was originally filed for in Q4 2011.
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