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MacRumors
Aug 16, 2007, 09:45 AM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)


http://images.macrumors.com/article/2007/08/16/connecting_350.gif


Appleinsider (http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/07/08/16/apple_designing_collapsable_connection_receptacle_for_ultra_portable_systems.html) points to a a patent application (http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PG01&s1=20070077797&OS=20070077797&RS=20070077797) as a possible connector design for the rumored ultra-portable Apple laptop.

Apple explains that "as notebook computers are becoming increasingly thinner ... connections systems need to be reduced in size to accommodate smaller form factors."

One limiting factor, however, that prevents further size reduction is the actual size of the largest connector port (such as the Ethernet port, or Firewire port). To work around this limitation, Apple has proposed to essentially create collapsible ports housed in a "connection system" that you an open and close. In the closed position, the ports collapse to a smaller size, allowing the entire form factor of the computer to be thinner. When open, the ports expand to their full size.
Accordingly, this collapsing function enables a substantial reduction in the size of the connection system and thereby enables a substantial reduction in the form factor of a device implementing the connection system"

The patent application was first filed back in September of 2005, so may or may not find its way into a future Apple product, but Appleinsider has been expecting an "ultra-portable" Apple laptop later this year or early next.


Article Link (http://www.macrumors.com/2007/08/16/ultraportable-connecting-system/)



techlover828
Aug 16, 2007, 09:47 AM
wow that's cool

BlizzardBomb
Aug 16, 2007, 09:49 AM
If it's reasonably priced, count me in for buying an ultra-portable.

bobobo
Aug 16, 2007, 09:49 AM
Its to add the phone line to the ultrathin home iPhone.

cliffjumper68
Aug 16, 2007, 09:50 AM
Looks like something begging to break, very un-apple. Collapsible systems have rarely been reliable or durable. Just look at the old collapsible notebook modem jacks. They were popular for a while and then disappeared because they always broke. I hope apple is taking care not to cheapen there products.

aricher
Aug 16, 2007, 09:52 AM
Very cool indeed. My fear though is that the more moving parts you have the greater likelyhood of breakage. I'd be happier if Apple could create a dock for my MacBook Pro.

brguitarist
Aug 16, 2007, 09:52 AM
hopefully this thing will be out by next summer so I can buy one :)

thejadedmonkey
Aug 16, 2007, 09:52 AM
Apple doesn't even like buttons, let alone having a moving part for each and every jack. I don't ever see this going anywhere.

Dagless
Aug 16, 2007, 09:55 AM
Apple folk are geniuses.

Grimace
Aug 16, 2007, 09:55 AM
After the click-wheel patent debacle, Apple is patenting EVERY idea -- just to be on the safe side.

MrCrowbar
Aug 16, 2007, 10:00 AM
Cool. Every other manufacturer would have given you a bunch of ugly adapters. Collapsible ports are nice indeed.

oscillatewildly
Aug 16, 2007, 10:01 AM
To me this = electric window. Why complicate things?

BKKbill
Aug 16, 2007, 10:02 AM
The race to thin. It never ceases to amaze me as to how small and or thin this stuff can be made. Some phones I just can't use because they are just to small for my fat fingers.

alec
Aug 16, 2007, 10:10 AM
But this was in 2005.... what makes an ultraportable from Apple anymore likely now then last year or in 2005?

samh004
Aug 16, 2007, 10:16 AM
Looks like something begging to break, very un-apple. Collapsible systems have rarely been reliable or durable.

That's what I was thinking, the wear and tear alone would prove this a failure. Assuming they've been researching this since before 2005, I wonder if the collapsable ports are still working ?

But this was in 2005.... what makes an ultraportable from Apple anymore likely now then last year or in 2005?

It's rumoured now.

CalBoy
Aug 16, 2007, 10:22 AM
But this was in 2005.... what makes an ultraportable from Apple anymore likely now then last year or in 2005?

The fact that we get our hopes up everytime one of these rumors comes around.

I want to believe January 2008, but we've been disappointed many times before, so I'm not sure if there is any point in getting my hopes up this time:(

pacohaas
Aug 16, 2007, 10:24 AM
There are so many grammatical errors in the responses to this thread it's making my eyes bleed. Then there's the homonym misuse too, it drives me crazier than mad cow disease.

icerabbit
Aug 16, 2007, 10:30 AM
They should simply have a slightly thicker area in the back of the machine where USB, FW etc can be plugged in. It raises the back of the machine up a little. Adds a little extra room to have bigger taller vent holes. Akin to some systems that have a little bulge for the battery. Nothing wrong with that ... though it probably doesn't suit Apple's design standards.

I doubt a collapsible design can be long lasting. And, I doubt that a notebook base with the thickness of an older LCD panel (how thin would they like to go?) would be long lasting as well.

Just keyboard, flash drive, battery etc? No optical. I say stick to regular ports in the back. Make it a wedge.

mozmac
Aug 16, 2007, 10:34 AM
I agree that there are better solutions than making collapsible ports. It's a cool idea, but would give the laptop a "cheap" feeling. I remember when the white iBook first came out, I loved the way they laid the ports out on the side. Moving them to the back with a slight bulge is an option, but Apple really likes symmetry in their design, so I don't know if that would work. Also, I think the Dell and ThinkPad ultraportables have really ugly backs where the battery bulges out. I don't like them.

digitalbiker
Aug 16, 2007, 10:44 AM
My pet peeve with Apple has always been the poor connectivity options for their laptops.

Most other vendors supply some sort of docking station with muliti-connectors for peripherals and one dock connection for the laptop. This really makes a laptop easy to connect to multiple, monitors, scanners, wired networks, fax, etc.

With Apple you always have to carry multiple adapters, dongles, and other crap hanging off of the laptop to connect to standard peripherals.

This looks like more of the same and even more flimsey.

Fisheke
Aug 16, 2007, 10:44 AM
I'd prefer something magsafe-like for the different connectors, espescially the ethernet.. (next-most used one after power for me).

Thinking of small caps you slide over the cable, and that magnetically click in to the laptop. you could make them as thin as you want, just one disadvantage: having to carry those small bits around when you're mobile.

mjstew33
Aug 16, 2007, 10:47 AM
I can see this happening, honestly.

Look what they did with the :apple: TV, they told everyone about it way before MacWorld - so they had time to showcase the iPhone.

iLife, iWork, iMac updates, Mac mini updates, and Leopard will have all been completed by January.. those items usually fill up an entire MacWorld - what would there be in January?


Portables & Mac Pro
No guarentee on the Mac Pro - but portables I can confidently say will see something huge.

Almost 100% positive, looking at Apple's previous history it seems very promising. But then again, we have to keep in mind that Apple has mysterious ways of working things.

Redbeard25
Aug 16, 2007, 10:53 AM
Looks like something begging to break, very un-apple. Collapsible systems have rarely been reliable or durable. Just look at the old collapsible notebook modem jacks. They were popular for a while and then disappeared because they always broke. I hope apple is taking care not to cheapen there products.

Yep. Forget referring to this laptop as the "ultra-portable." Just the "ultra-breakable."

fastbite
Aug 16, 2007, 10:53 AM
Had to read it 3 times before understanding how exactly this thing works, and it looks to me rather awkward, so many little moving parts, all retracting/contracting simultaneously as you open/colse this thing. i don't know I guess it may work. But if the build quality is not excellent, what a mess...

koobcamuk
Aug 16, 2007, 10:58 AM
I'd prefer something magsafe-like for the different connectors, espescially the ethernet...

I like the idea of this... almost. Imagine very small ports on th side of your thin laptop, and then clip on a piece of aluminium that has all the full sized connectors... I know it sounds dumb and not entirely related to the thread, but I like the idea.

Le Big Mac
Aug 16, 2007, 11:00 AM
Looks like something begging to break, very un-apple. Collapsible systems have rarely been reliable or durable. Just look at the old collapsible notebook modem jacks. They were popular for a while and then disappeared because they always broke. I hope apple is taking care not to cheapen there products.

+1. I really liked the Duo system. Obviously a lot has changed since then, but why couldn't apple simply build a machine that docks with special port? If it has wireless, then it hardly needs another jack--perhaps a single USB port for a key drive. That's what makes it ultraportable. If you want more, get the smallest macbook.

Clive At Five
Aug 16, 2007, 11:03 AM
If Apple does go the ultra-portable route, I REALLY think it'll be less than 13". And I REALLY think it'll be a tablet.

If Apple is worried about shaving fractions of inches off of already slim ports, why wouldn't they want to eliminate all the extra space used on two layers of chasis, not to mention keyboard thickness? They could easily make a light-powered, light-weight, ultra-thin, multi-touch tablet on a 9-11" screen for a reasonable price.

If you need to plug it in, flip down the port interface and voila, ports that are wider than the unit... or whatever it may be.

Okay, so it might not be a tablet, but I'm confident it'll be under 13". If Apple is going to play the "ultra-portable" game, they're going to play it right. They're not just going to ship a laptop that just barely makes it under the specifications of "ultra-portable." They are going to shock and awe and put all other so-called "ultra-portables" to shame.

-Clive

bdkennedy1
Aug 16, 2007, 11:03 AM
Apple would probably have better success designing new ports instead of using flimsy collapsable ports.

Or they could develop a "power-strip" type device that contains all of the ports on a strip and plugs into one port on the laptop.

CMTobin
Aug 16, 2007, 11:06 AM
To me, it doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility that I'll basically never use an ethernet or firewire connection again...

I mean, apple themselves stopped using firewire (which they invented), and as far as ethernet goes... with the advent of 802.11n I hardly see why we should have many wired connections anymore...

The only time I used a wired connection was in my dorm a few years ago, because they wouldn't allow you to have wireless, but now...

Gesh... I want an ultra portable... I sure love my 12'' PowerBook...

Porco
Aug 16, 2007, 11:07 AM
Cool concept, doubt it'll happen.

I'm sure the ultra-portables will be out in no time though, because I just ordered a macbook :p

miniConvert
Aug 16, 2007, 11:13 AM
What a clever idea. If this concept means Apple is able to cram the interfaces we know and love into a small, thin laptop then it's all good, I say!

Love it. They'd just better act on it!

bananas
Aug 16, 2007, 11:38 AM
ooh, an ultraportable.
*drools*
gimme gimme :D

malckwan
Aug 16, 2007, 11:39 AM
Apple tends to leave such roles to 3rd party developers like BookEndz.

I think the last time they tried a docking system was with the PowerBook Duos. The Mini-Dock and the DuoDock used a proprietary connection.

My pet peeve with Apple has always been the poor connectivity options for their laptops.

Most other vendors supply some sort of docking station with muliti-connectors for peripherals and one dock connection for the laptop. This really makes a laptop easy to connect to multiple, monitors, scanners, wired networks, fax, etc.

With Apple you always have to carry multiple adapters, dongles, and other crap hanging off of the laptop to connect to standard peripherals.

This looks like more of the same and even more flimsey.

EagerDragon
Aug 16, 2007, 11:39 AM
Don't drop the laptop, a very small missalignment may not allow you to connect the laptop. Great idea, but It maybe sensitive to minor missalignment problems.

Lepton
Aug 16, 2007, 11:42 AM
And don't forget that ultra slim CD drive patent we saw a while back, I think the disc was attached to a flap on the bottom of the unit.

EagerDragon
Aug 16, 2007, 11:42 AM
After the click-wheel patent debacle, Apple is patenting EVERY idea -- just to be on the safe side.

May also be profitable, Apple may noit use this and other patents but may license it to others.

EagerDragon
Aug 16, 2007, 11:49 AM
I agree that there are better solutions than making collapsible ports. It's a cool idea, but would give the laptop a "cheap" feeling. I remember when the white iBook first came out, I loved the way they laid the ports out on the side. Moving them to the back with a slight bulge is an option, but Apple really likes symmetry in their design, so I don't know if that would work. Also, I think the Dell and ThinkPad ultraportables have really ugly backs where the battery bulges out. I don't like them.

Ummmm, you prefer a tangle of wires coming from the left and the right of the laptop?

I prefer a dock with all the wires out the back.

Marx55
Aug 16, 2007, 11:54 AM
Ultra-portable Apple laptop?

YES-YES-YES!!!

We need tons for our University.

kingtj
Aug 16, 2007, 11:55 AM
Especially for an ultraportable, I'd agree that 99% of the time, you'd want a wireless connection with it, if possible. Otherwise, you don't even care that it's "portable" anymore, if you're tethered to some network jack on the wall.

BUT, you definitely want to have ports like firewire and/or ethernet for maintenance purposes, at least. Say you need to make a backup of a bunch of data on your notebook before erasing the drive and doing a re-install of the OS? With firewire on the Mac, you can just hold down T when the machine boots to make it into a "target" drive. Then the computer on the other side of the firewire cable can use it just like it was any old external hard drive.

And wired ethernet (especially gigabit) is still FAR faster than 802.11n wireless. If you need to transfer really large files (like entire movies, for example?), you really don't want to be stuck doing that over wi-fi.


To me, it doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility that I'll basically never use an ethernet or firewire connection again...

I mean, apple themselves stopped using firewire (which they invented), and as far as ethernet goes... with the advent of 802.11n I hardly see why we should have many wired connections anymore...

The only time I used a wired connection was in my dorm a few years ago, because they wouldn't allow you to have wireless, but now...

Gesh... I want an ultra portable... I sure love my 12'' PowerBook...

dicklacara
Aug 16, 2007, 11:57 AM
Looks like something begging to break, very un-apple. Collapsible systems have rarely been reliable or durable. Just look at the old collapsible notebook modem jacks. They were popular for a while and then disappeared because they always broke. I hope apple is taking care not to cheapen there products.

Yeah, makes more sense to use 1 or more ultra-thin connectors (like the one in the ipod/iphone, for example) and a short break-out cable that interfaces the ultra-thin computer connector(s) and (one or more) standard USB, Modem, Ethernet, FireWire connectors.

In the process, Apple could define new, standard, ultra-thin connectors for all these interfaces for future adoption, and provide interface, thru the breakout cable, to the current, standard, "fat" implementations.

Clive At Five
Aug 16, 2007, 12:01 PM
Yeah, makes more sense to use 1 or more ultra-thin connectors (like the one in the ipod/iphone, for example) and a short break-out cable that interfaces the ultra-thin computer connector(s) and (one or more) standard USB, Modem, Ethernet, FireWire connectors.

In the process, Apple could define new, standard, ultra-thin connectors for all these interfaces for future adoption, and provide interface, thru the breakout cable, to the current, standard, "fat" implementations.

I know these already exist for USB and Firewire (though I'm not sure the FireWire one is powered)... Why not just use those?

-Clive

rockthecasbah
Aug 16, 2007, 12:13 PM
This will be excellent for me, hopefully it comes out either this year or next, so i can pick it up for when i go to college!

emotion
Aug 16, 2007, 12:14 PM
If it's reasonably priced, count me in for buying an ultra-portable.

Apple, don't listen to this I want this machine a pro level device.

koobcamuk
Aug 16, 2007, 12:17 PM
Apple would probably have better success designing new ports instead of using flimsy collapsable ports.

Or they could develop a "power-strip" type device that contains all of the ports on a strip and plugs into one port on the laptop.

I suggested this already. I think it sounds awesome.

I think a proper ultraportable could be really cool :)

emotion
Aug 16, 2007, 12:17 PM
But this was in 2005.... what makes an ultraportable from Apple anymore likely now then last year or in 2005?

Well they're teamed up with Intel now. Currently the best mobile cpu providers.

For a powerbook G5 (2005 stylee) you could get away with expandable ports not collapsible, the size that enclosure would have to be to keep it cool :D

rest44
Aug 16, 2007, 12:18 PM
Give me an ultra-portable laptop and Ill buy it right away!

iPhone is out, now give us something big for the Mac. This has been a disapointing year so far: less than gorgeous imac, lack and late macs updates, disappointing secret features in leopard, promisse of games in macs but no great gpu for them, no iPod updates so far.

koobcamuk
Aug 16, 2007, 12:27 PM
Someone's talking rubbish if they think Apple has abandoned Firewire.

you definitely want to have ports like firewire and/or ethernet for maintenance purposes, at least. Say you need to make a backup of a bunch of data on your notebook before erasing the drive and doing a re-install of the OS?

I have never reinstalled OS X and don't know why I would need to?

emotion
Aug 16, 2007, 12:31 PM
Someone's talking rubbish if they think Apple has abandoned Firewire.

For a small thin tablet, I don't think them ditching firewire is beyond the realms of possibilty. Whether that's a good thing or not is another thing.

koobcamuk
Aug 16, 2007, 12:32 PM
Apple, don't listen to this I want this machine a pro level device.

Ditto. Priced around the 15" MB or a little higher please. It really gets to me when people want this concept to be 'cheap'. Go buy a dell.

emotion
Aug 16, 2007, 12:34 PM
Ditto. Priced around the 15" MB or a little higher please. It really gets to me when people want this concept to be 'cheap'. Go buy a dell.

...or an iPhone.

koobcamuk
Aug 16, 2007, 12:39 PM
For a small thin tablet, I don't think them ditching firewire is beyond the realms of possibilty. Whether that's a good thing or not is another thing.

Where in Manchester are you? :)

Yes, for a tablet, fair enough. I just disagree that they have 'abandoned it'. In an ultraportable, maybe it's not required? It would be a shame - I have a lovely Firewire 400 HDD.

koobcamuk
Aug 16, 2007, 12:39 PM
...or an iPhone.

Nicely put ;)

emotion
Aug 16, 2007, 12:44 PM
Where in Manchester are you? :)

I work at the University.


Yes, for a tablet, fair enough. I just disagree that they have 'abandoned it'. In an ultraportable, maybe it's not required? It would be a shame - I have a lovely Firewire 400 HDD.

To be fair I missed what sparked the comment.

Apple won't ditch firewire in everything it's not necessary for a lot of devices.

Howver, think of it this way the powerbook 12" was bught by a lot of photographers. Dont some cameras (and videa cameras) favour firewire as a connector? It seems to me they'd want to appeal to that market. If that's the case firewire is safe.

Nepenthe
Aug 16, 2007, 12:51 PM
Don't drop the laptop,

duh.

a very small missalignment may not allow you to connect the laptop. Great idea, but It maybe sensitive to minor missalignment problems.

So suddenly we are all authorities on a design that isn't even known to exist yet? Give Apple some credit. I don't think they would add functionality like that without at least ensuring that it is robust and somewhat idiot proof.

peraugym
Aug 16, 2007, 12:52 PM
I'm still using my powerbook 12'' G4 and I have been long waiting for my replacement but I'll keep it until Macworld San Francisco. If there will be no ultra portable device I'm going to buy a Macbook Pro, don't like glossy screen and I want to have a better GPU than onboard.

Ultra-portable devices are normally more expansive than comparable 15'' notebooks, so I estimate a price of more than 2000$

MacJediDude
Aug 16, 2007, 12:52 PM
Man - I want an ultra-portable mac so bad I can taste it!!!
My 12" PB is getting LONG in the tooth but I don't want the increased form factor of the 15" MBP or 13" Macbook. :p

Come on Apple we need the ultra-port!

Petje
Aug 16, 2007, 12:56 PM
What if you got your "ultraportable" laptop connected and you close it?

What will break?
The collapsable connnectors :(
The connectors on the cable or.... your fine new :apple: laptop? :eek:

Westside guy
Aug 16, 2007, 01:17 PM
If it's reasonably priced, count me in for buying an ultra-portable.

That's not going to happen.

Ditto. Priced around the 15" MB or a little higher please. It really gets to me when people want this concept to be 'cheap'. Go buy a dell.

Sorry, but I found your post to be a bit unrealistic. You argue with the first guy (who I quoted above); but by asking for this to be "priced around the 15" MB(P)" you're basically saying the same thing as him.

Ultraportables are expensive - just look around at the decent ones currently available. I'd guess this could find a price point maybe even $1000 over the MacBook Pros.

Personally I am quite happy with the size of Apple's current laptops. I'll be curious to see if there's enough of a market for an ultraportable - at least in the sense of the word as we currently understand it - to make it worth Apple's while.

Petje
Aug 16, 2007, 01:24 PM
What will break?

The :apple:-Engineers are propably smart enough to automatically eject the connectors when closing the laptop.

hagjohn
Aug 16, 2007, 01:26 PM
Just create a thin ends (example: SATA connector) to your USB/Firewire/etc... and then sell and adapter to put on the end of mouses, etc.... Better than having "movable parts", IMO.


I can't imagine anything more portable than a Macbook and still be usable.

BlizzardBomb
Aug 16, 2007, 01:32 PM
Apple, don't listen to this I want this machine a pro level device.

Maybe I didn't explain that well enough. I didn't say I wanted it to be cheap, I said "reasonably priced" as in "good value for money". It could be a Pro computer and as long as it's "reasonably priced", I'll buy it.

sonneta
Aug 16, 2007, 02:00 PM
I really need an ultra portable, but really don't want to buy a PC! Can I fit Mac components inside another device? Hopefully it won't come to that and Apple will come out with something early next year. I think I can wait until then!

koobcamuk
Aug 16, 2007, 03:00 PM
Sorry, but I found your post to be a bit unrealistic. You argue with the first guy (who I quoted above); but by asking for this to be "priced around the 15" MB(P)" you're basically saying the same thing as him.

Not UK prices. The MacBook Pro 15" costs about $3,200 if you go for the mid range. And I said 'around that' meaning between that and the $3600 needed for the 17". It's nearly $1000 more in the UK than the US for the 17" so I base my prices on UK prices.

I work at the University.


So do I!


To be fair I missed what sparked the comment.

Apple won't ditch firewire in everything it's not necessary for a lot of devices.

Howver, think of it this way the powerbook 12" was bught by a lot of photographers. Dont some cameras (and videa cameras) favour firewire as a connector? It seems to me they'd want to appeal to that market. If that's the case firewire is safe.

I think they'll keep it.

! V !
Aug 16, 2007, 03:14 PM
If you look at the new ultra-slim keyboard, it is a good indicator that Apple's new ultra-slim powerbook or other product will utilize this form factor.

It has the angles similar to a wedge, however not quite. It is quite possible that the new keyboard is the precursor to the future ultra-portable.

DMC-12
Aug 16, 2007, 03:31 PM
Wouldn't these collapsible ports make it so that you couldn't have anything larger than the MagSafe plugged in when shut? If you wanted to close it, you'd have to disconnect an ethernet connection as well. I know that "ultra-portables" aren't meant to be used in desktop replacement modes, but you'd want to be able to close it while still connected to the internet.

offwidafairies
Aug 16, 2007, 03:32 PM
cool :)

capoditutti
Aug 16, 2007, 03:34 PM
If you look at the new ultra-slim keyboard, it is a good indicator that Apple's new ultra-slim powerbook or other product will utilize this form factor.

It has the angles similar to a wedge, however not quite. It is quite possible that the new keyboard is the precursor to the future ultra-portable.

What are the dimensions for the new alu-keyboard?

Manatee
Aug 16, 2007, 04:08 PM
I don't like this folding port idea, but I can't wait to get my ultra-thin MacBook. It would replace my Sony TZN27.

Maybe I'd get a Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin watch to go with it. :)

entropys
Aug 16, 2007, 04:32 PM
Apple hasn't abandoned firewire, otherwise they wouldn't have bothered putting FW800 in the new imacs.

As for the expanding connector port idea, even if they could make it robust it would suffer too much FUD to be a successful product, IMHO.

A better solution is a slim connector attached to a slim, simple little breakout box containing USB, Firewire 800 and ethernet. One connection. And the reason why FW800 was put in the imacs.

The only flaw in this scenario is that the ultraportable would have to have a USB plug for memory sticks, or when you are out and about without your breakout box. I could see it with USB only as an alternative to a breakout box as most of the networking would be taken care of wirelessly.

DoFoT9
Aug 16, 2007, 05:19 PM
nice idea :apple:. if its at the right price, i would certainly be looking on the market for an ultraportable.

Cinch
Aug 16, 2007, 05:39 PM
What is the obsession with having lots of ports. I owned a MacBook, and the only port that I use is a audio out, one USB port and the power port. 95% of people who use the MacBook/Pro too will only use these three things. What is the point of having an ethernet, firewire, extra USB and audio out ports again?

We all see the back end of HP or Dell laptops in cafes, and we all know how ugly they are. What is that big round thing that bulge out from these laptop? Oh Oh Oh can I guess? Well it must be the big ass fan that cools the monster processor that is running Internet Explorer! Good times:D

Cinch

Quicksilver867
Aug 16, 2007, 06:06 PM
Folding ports?? I wonder how in earth they'll pull that one off. Seriously, how do you get something that teeny to fold smaller? It seems like it would take a great deal of engineering, and probably end up breaking easily. Call me a critic, but that just doesn't seem very feasible.

Fukui
Aug 16, 2007, 06:48 PM
If it's reasonably priced, count me in for buying an ultra-portable.

:rolleyes:

aswitcher
Aug 16, 2007, 07:28 PM
Does anything in the patent look like a mini-DVI or HDMI out port?

I really need that to make an ultraportable useful for presentations and for extended screen at home.

AidenShaw
Aug 16, 2007, 09:33 PM
A better solution is a slim connector attached to a slim, simple little breakout box containing USB, Firewire 800 and ethernet. One connection.

I'd add a DVI link to that....

Apple is really neglecting the folks who want their "life" on their laptop, but want to connect it to a big monitor/keyboard/mouse at work, and at home - yet still have the portable form factor for traveling or working outside the office.

In my company, the standard laptop order includes two "port replicators" - one for the home, one for the office. While they may be called "docks" they are really just single, simple connectors between the laptop and the 24" screen, keyboard, mouse, printer, external drive and other peripherals. And, of course, the "dock" has an "undock" button that the software uses to cleanly disconnect all the attached gizmos.

And I'm really amazed that it all remembers that at home the attached monitor is a 1920x1200 on the left of the system, and at work it's a 1200x1600 in portrait mode on the right....

Apple takes a cheap shot at Dell for the cable tangle behind a desktop, yet an Apple portable has a mess of individual cables to (dis)connect every time it's moved, and most Dell's have a simple docking station quick (dis)connect.

Belly-laughs
Aug 16, 2007, 09:34 PM
I find it hard to see how this will enable them to shave off any thickness.

AppleMatt389
Aug 16, 2007, 10:05 PM
I find it hard to see how this will enable them to shave off any thickness.

i agree..if anything it just adds the extra thickness Y. and if it has to pivot about that point..the only real place it is thinner is at the very edge of the port..where it it exposed. if that makes sense. stupid idea i rekcon.

also to the people telling those that want a cheap ultraportable to "go buy a dell", im sorry if we all dont have thousands and thousands of dollars to spend. to suggest we buy a dell is an insult to everyone :rolleyes: we are also entitled to a quality laptop thats not an exorbitant amount.

Fluffymuff
Aug 16, 2007, 10:06 PM
So suddenly we are all authorities on a design that isn't even known to exist yet? Give Apple some credit. I don't think they would add functionality like that without at least ensuring that it is robust and somewhat idiot proof.
What?! You say Apple is going to make the ports out of soap? :eek:

Wha... SOAP??? :eek:

Sure, that's great when you first buy it, and yes another stroke of Apple genius in clean industrial design, but then what happens if it gets wet and the ports get all sudsy and start to melt away? I for one would have serious reservations about buying a laptop with ports made of soap. :rolleyes:

Fluffymuff
Aug 16, 2007, 10:12 PM
What are the dimensions for the new alu-keyboard?
The dimensions for the new alu-wired keyboard are 17" wide, 4.5" deep, .75" high.

As for the dimensions of the new alu-wireless keyboard, well, my dear, you will just have to wait until they are officially released.

thebrain74
Aug 17, 2007, 02:53 AM
I for one hope Firewire has a nice long life with apple, I love it. And for many current applications it is indispensable. I actually miss it from the iPod, it is faster. It is the de facto standard for camcorders (including some older ones, which many people have). USB simply is not up to transferring DV. And eSata and such is not nearly mainstream and FW 800 while it can be argued isn't exactly common either, is a fantastic interface for external HDD's (which are used very commonly with laptops, especially i would imagine with an ultraportable which would have a small HDD, maybe flash SSD).

my 2.0000000000000000000000000000000001 cents

dereth
Aug 17, 2007, 05:19 AM
Isn't this just like Megahertz/3Com's XPort?

entropys
Aug 17, 2007, 06:22 AM
I for one hope Firewire has a nice long life with apple, I love it. And for many current applications it is indispensable. I actually miss it from the iPod, it is faster. It is the de facto standard for camcorders (including some older ones, which many people have). USB simply is not up to transferring DV. And eSata and such is not nearly mainstream and FW 800 while it can be argued isn't exactly common either, is a fantastic interface for external HDD's (which are used very commonly with laptops, especially i would imagine with an ultraportable which would have a small HDD, maybe flash SSD).

my 2.0000000000000000000000000000000001 cents

Yes. In fact, you could argue that putting FW800 on the new imac is a shot across the bows of eSATA (I wanted eSATA in the imac).

BKKbill
Aug 17, 2007, 10:12 AM
I find it hard to see how this will enable them to shave off any thickness.

Just maybe.

daysleeper
Aug 17, 2007, 01:33 PM
Dear Apple,

Just give me the option to ship you my 12" Powerbook G4, have you throw in a new chip,bigger hard drive, and brighter screen, then ship it back to me.

I swear to God I'll be happy for another 3 years.

twoodcc
Aug 17, 2007, 04:20 PM
seems really cool. i hope the ultra-portable is really coming

mooncaine
Aug 17, 2007, 06:17 PM
Looks like something begging to break, very un-apple. Collapsible systems have rarely been reliable or durable. Just look at the old collapsible notebook modem jacks. They were popular for a while and then disappeared because they always broke.

Exactly my thinking. I was wondering if the half-inch of width this saves is justified considering we just added a moving part with at least two points of failure [hinge pins on each end of the panel]. They are subject to wear and tear, too, under normal use, so it's not just a risk that the panel will be broken -- it's a question of when the hinges fail. Remember you'll have to open that panel every time you use a port -- that's a lot of opening and closing.

Maybe they'll outlast the typical life of the computer, but if it breaks after 3 years, you can't just go to Fry's and get a replacement. Your laptop's trashed. Is that half-inch of space worth it?

Fluffymuff
Aug 17, 2007, 10:01 PM
Exactly my thinking. I was wondering if the half-inch of width this saves is justified considering we just added a moving part with at least two points of failure [hinge pins on each end of the panel]. They are subject to wear and tear, too, under normal use, so it's not just a risk that the panel will be broken -- it's a question of when the hinges fail. Remember you'll have to open that panel every time you use a port -- that's a lot of opening and closing.

Maybe they'll outlast the typical life of the computer, but if it breaks after 3 years, you can't just go to Fry's and get a replacement. Your laptop's trashed. Is that half-inch of space worth it?
You got all that from a cryptic diagram? You can predict when something will break that may never even be built? And that it will trash a laptop that also does not yet exist?

But to answer your question: yes. Innovative approaches to miniaturizing computers are absolutely worth it. I would love an ultraportable and it's nice to know that Apple is contemplating solutions that would accomodate standard ports. I'm sure they're contemplating lots of things. It's anybody's guess what will finally ship, but at least when it does you will be able to more legitimately say what a terrible idea it is. :)

Tymmz
Aug 18, 2007, 05:10 PM
Dear Apple,

Just give me the option to ship you my 12" Powerbook G4, have you throw in a new chip,bigger hard drive, and brighter screen, then ship it back to me.

I swear to God I'll be happy for another 3 years.

Same here!

DoFoT9
Aug 18, 2007, 05:14 PM
hhhmm this new feature needs an interesting abbreviation.......
how about UPS??? that doesnt sound like its taken

:p

UPCS???

no??

vicious7
Aug 18, 2007, 08:08 PM
If it's reasonably priced, count me in for buying an ultra-portable.

Yep...and it would make life so much easier when travelling in those jet powered tin cans :D

savar
Aug 20, 2007, 11:30 AM
Looks like something begging to break, very un-apple. Collapsible systems have rarely been reliable or durable. Just look at the old collapsible notebook modem jacks. They were popular for a while and then disappeared because they always broke. I hope apple is taking care not to cheapen there products.

Not just that, but aesthetically it would look strange. It would break the clean lines that Apple loves if the ports (when expanded) were thicker than the case. Plus there would be a seam between the main chassis and this foldable port thing.

I can't imagine this ever goes into production. They probably patented it just to drive Dell or Toshiba nuts...this is exactly the kind of thing I could see one of those companies trying to put onto their laptops.

b33k34
Aug 21, 2007, 05:25 AM
I'd add a DVI link to that....

Apple is really neglecting the folks who want their "life" on their laptop, but want to connect it to a big monitor/keyboard/mouse at work, and at home - yet still have the portable form factor for traveling or working outside the office.
<snip>
Apple takes a cheap shot at Dell for the cable tangle behind a desktop, yet an Apple portable has a mess of individual cables to (dis)connect every time it's moved, and most Dell's have a simple docking station quick (dis)connect.

I'm not an Apple owner yet but there's an iMac to come as soon as Leopard is available and almost certainly a macbook to replace my aging Thinkpad soon after. One of the things that puts me off is the lack of a dock but is this as much of an issue as you say?

i thought the apple monitor connector included firewire and usb so your mouse/keyboard (if not wireless) and peripherals can be connected to the display. Your networking is likely wireless anyway (which is sufficiently fas for nearly everything) which just leaves power - so only 2 cables.

i'm with you - i think a really nice, magsafe, dock connector would be better (and my monitor is a dell so i'll have to manually cable usb as well)

pjarvi
Aug 21, 2007, 07:55 PM
I don't like anything that adds more moving parts to a system. It's just another thing that will break or bend.

Steven Bao
Sep 14, 2007, 12:07 AM
Please delete this reply.

candide
Sep 24, 2007, 07:57 PM
idea: supply the notebook with only one ueberport and relocate all other ports to the power adaptor.

this "apple universal adaptor" is connected to the wall outlet, provides multiple usb, hdmi/dvi, audio in/out, ethernet so that all cable clutter goes into this thingy rather than the laptop itself.

with your macbook, you get not one, but two "apple universal adaptors". one for your home. so tv, hifi, printers, cameras, etc. will always be plugged in. another one for the road, maybe a lighter, more transportable version with less ports. (the "home adaptor" could be merged with the airport adaptor.)

the cable between macbook and power adaptor (yes, the "apple universal adaptor connector cable") can thus transpond any cable-based data and/or energy needed. it uses a magsafe connector whose ends can be connected into each other which facilitates storing. also, the cable can be lengthened by simply using multiple cables. make that connector a standard on all apple devices, so that when you're only using apple devices, you only need one type of cable.

get the idea?

of course, 2 or 3 usb and maybe the audio ports should additionally be left on the macbook, since they will be needed most in mobile usage. once you connect to a second monitor or an ethernet, you're more likely to be close to a wall outlet.

TurboSC
Sep 24, 2007, 10:17 PM
doesn't seem like an approach Apple would take, but I mean it's a great idea and why not patent it right? I'm sure they have something better brewing...

CalBoy
Sep 24, 2007, 11:15 PM
idea: supply the notebook with only one ueberport and relocate all other ports to the power adaptor.

this "apple universal adaptor" is connected to the wall outlet, provides multiple usb, hdmi/dvi, audio in/out, ethernet so that all cable clutter goes into this thingy rather than the laptop itself.

with your macbook, you get not one, but two "apple universal adaptors". one for your home. so tv, hifi, printers, cameras, etc. will always be plugged in. another one for the road, maybe a lighter, more transportable version with less ports. (the "home adaptor" could be merged with the airport adaptor.)

the cable between macbook and power adaptor (yes, the "apple universal adaptor connector cable") can thus transpond any cable-based data and/or energy needed. it uses a magsafe connector whose ends can be connected into each other which facilitates storing. also, the cable can be lengthened by simply using multiple cables. make that connector a standard on all apple devices, so that when you're only using apple devices, you only need one type of cable.

get the idea?

of course, 2 or 3 usb and maybe the audio ports should additionally be left on the macbook, since they will be needed most in mobile usage. once you connect to a second monitor or an ethernet, you're more likely to be close to a wall outlet.
It's a bit too complex. Apple likes to create simple products that are capable of doing a lot. Apple's emphasis is on ease of use, not on feature-saturated hardware.

why not patent it right?

Don't you worry; Apple will patent everything it can, even if it's completely useless;)

capoditutti
Sep 25, 2007, 02:52 PM
Dear Apple,

Just give me the option to ship you my 12" Powerbook G4, have you throw in a new chip,bigger hard drive, and brighter screen, then ship it back to me.

I swear to God I'll be happy for another 3 years.

Stick an SSD in there and tell us how it goes - that'll solve most of what you're missing i'm sure, and it'll cost roughly the same...

Nonsanity
Jan 14, 2008, 12:41 PM
Moving Parts != Apple Design Philosophy

That patented design is far too gimicky and prone to breakage. A far better idea would be to rotate the plug surface 45 degrees, say on a curve, and put ol' Pythagoras' theorem to good use:

http://nonsanity.com/plug-45.gif