A newly granted Apple patent suggests the company is working on a thinner, high-speed dock connector. Entitled “Reduced size multi-pin male plug connector,” the patent describes a dock connector-like plug and receptacle, both of which use any one of a variety of design changes in order to reduce their height in an attempt to accomodate ever-smaller devices; one embodiment also includes a moveable door to protect the contacts. In addition, the patent specifically singles out DisplayPort and USB 3.0 as possible high-speed data communication standards. Interestingly, the patent application was filed just days after Intel first introduced its Light Peak technology, on which the company collaborated with Apple to bring it to market under the name Thunderbolt. As Apple is now shipping its new MacBook Pros with Thunderbolt ports but without USB 3.0, it seems likely that Thunderbolt would supersede DisplayPort and USB 3.0 as the preferred communication standard in any revised dock connector. As with all Apple patents, this filing does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area. [via Patently Apple]
Charles Starrett was a senior editor at iLounge. He's been covering the iPod, iPhone, and iPad since their inception. He has written numerous articles and reviews, and his work has been featured in multiple publications.