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Old Jun 27, 2013, 12:28 PM   #1
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Apple Proposes New Multifunction Input Ports, Could Merge SD Card Slot and USB Port




Apple has applied for a patent on a computer port that combines two connectors such as a USB port and a SD card reader according to an application recently published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and noticed by AppleInsider.

The invention, which Apple calls a 'combined input port', adds contact surfaces for multiple different ports. One such example used in the application adds a SD card to the bottom of a standard USB port, with additional cuts to fit the SD card. The combined port could save room on smaller notebooks, and is one potential way for Apple to fit an SD card reader in the 11" MacBook Air.

Quote:
The foregoing description has broad application. For example, while examples disclosed herein may focus on an input port for receiving a USB plug and a SD card, it should be appreciated that the concepts disclosed herein may equally apply to connectors and plugs. Similarly, although the input port may be discussed with respect to a computer, the devices and techniques disclosed herein are equally applicable to any type of device including an external connector for transferring data and/or power. Accordingly, the discussion of any embodiment is meant only to be an example and is not intended to suggest that the scope of the disclosure, including the claims, is limited to these examples.
The patent was originally applied for in December 2011 and is only now getting published. It has not yet been awarded, however.

Apple routinely applies for patents on inventions that never make it to a final product, but this does seem to have a lot of potential for production. For example, Apple could use it such a combined input port to save space on notebooks, adding an additional USB port to the location where the SD card slot currently is.

The company recently released updated MacBook Air models, though they did not receive a substantial redesign. Apple is expected to release updated MacBook Pro with Retina display models in the near future, and such a combined port could make sense on that device, though there are no guarantees that Apple would ever use it.

Article Link: Apple Proposes New Multifunction Input Ports, Could Merge SD Card Slot and USB Port
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 12:29 PM   #2
SJism23
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Very nice engineering, Apple.
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 12:29 PM   #3
caligomez
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 12:31 PM   #4
sp3k0psv3t
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Cant wait............

Now if we can only use BOTH at the "same time" it would be amazing!

Think about the possibilities:

HDMI w/ SD Card AND

USB3 w/ SD Card AND

TB w/ SD Card

One can dream right lol
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 12:31 PM   #5
Mac21ND
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Merge the lightning port with an SD card slot for the iPhone/iPad and then we'll talk.

***

Edit:

I have no idea if this is even technically possible. It just seems like it would along the same lines as mentioned in the patent. And yes, I know they make a dongle to handle such things :-)

Last edited by Mac21ND; Jun 27, 2013 at 02:29 PM. Reason: Clarification
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 12:33 PM   #6
euvix
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sp3k0psv3t View Post
Cant wait............

Now if we can only use BOTH at the "same time" it would be amazing!

Think about the possibilities:

HDMI w/ SD Card AND

USB3 w/ SD Card AND

TB w/ SD Card

One can dream right lol
Honestly, I don't see much point in this unless you could use them at the same time (which seems improbable). There's not really a problem with dedicated ports, why try to fix it?
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 12:33 PM   #7
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Insert Phil Schiller quote here.
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 12:35 PM   #8
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 12:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by euvix View Post
Honestly, I don't see much point in this unless you could use them at the same time (which seems improbable). There's not really a problem with dedicated ports, why try to fix it?
You really need an answer for this?? Why does Apple to half the things they do? To make everything thinner!!!!
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 12:38 PM   #10
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I hate to say it, but there is a high chance that they'd offer the same amount of USB ports that current models have and take away the SD slot. So now I got one less USB port due to it being filled up when reading SD cards. I hope otherwise, but because of SD card's slim form factor, it fits on the Air on the slope where a USB port likely couldn't. But then again, I'm not Apple and they can "innovate, my ass". (No, my ass does not need innovating )...

I do like this innovation however, especially if they use it on models or designs that wouldn't normally be able to fit an SD card reader. And on Pro models, they could include an extra USB where the SD card reader is. Let's hope Apple giveth and not taketh away.

Last edited by tonytiger13; Jun 27, 2013 at 12:41 PM. Reason: Actually read the article...
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 12:40 PM   #11
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Call me crazy, but do that many people still really use SD cards? For a company that has a history of removing 'legacy technology' from products (floppy drives, optical drives, Firewire, ethernet), it doesn't seem like them to create a new connector that incorporates SD.

I'm sure all the photography folks on here will disagree with me, but I'm just curious to see how many average users use them.
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 12:41 PM   #12
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What would be really useful is a single port that combined:

USB (all flavors)
SDCard
iPod30PinConnector
Thunderbolt

This would provide excellent backward compatibility. It's a shame each time they upgrade the connector to have to throw away your external devices (e.g., BMW car).

Apple could do a LOT better at legacy support.
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 12:41 PM   #13
geronimo789
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caligomez View Post
Apple.. Always ahead..
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajcadoo View Post
This is innovation people. It's stuff like this that makes Apple shine. Nobody else would have thought of this EXCEPT Apple. It may be a small improvement, but just like the MagSafe, it can change a lot!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ESATAp

Yeah, it really did not exist before at all, this is really high tech, unimaginably brilliant.

Don't get me wrong, I like Apple, they have a formidable design team and vision, but they aren't the messiah of computing either.

Also, big problem with combining ports is that you can only use one of them at a time, or you'd have to go buy an adapter to use them at the same time. Now there's something Apple surely won't do right ? Creating more adapters at 29 bucks for people to buy
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 12:43 PM   #14
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While this sounds good, reality is its another new item that could end up being a little used proprietary highly costly Apple only connector.

Apples target market customers that shop at Walmart don't care about such things.

Conversely Apple might have something of value for future profit.
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 12:44 PM   #15
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Why is this on the front page? There are dozens of cool inventions that never make it to consumers.
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 12:44 PM   #16
Di4mondz
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I like what I'm seeing here.
Even though it's already been invented, they've patented it and you know it means they're going to use it in the future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac21ND View Post
Merge the lightning port with an SD card slot for the iPhone/iPad and then we'll talk.
^ And this is a MUST.
I would get the next iPhone instantly.
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 12:45 PM   #17
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Here comes the iMacPad!

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Old Jun 27, 2013, 12:45 PM   #18
tonytiger13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geronimo789 View Post
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ESATAp

Yeah, it really did not exist before, like, unimaginable.
I love that port on the Windows PC's I've seen them on. However, they aren't marketed correctly. Every average user I show it to and tell them what it can do feel it looks to strange to use (weird, I know). I tell them, at least, they have 1 more USB port, and that makes them happy. eSata for the average user? Yea right. If you're using eSata you're not an average user, imo. I try to explain that it can charge even with the laptop closed and sleeping, but again, many just didn't know they *couldn't* do that to begin with.
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 12:46 PM   #19
Skika
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac21ND View Post
Merge the lightning port with an SD card slot for the iPhone/iPad and then we'll talk.
lol pls no.
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 12:47 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpfenninger View Post
Call me crazy, but do that many people still really use SD cards? For a company that has a history of removing 'legacy technology' from products (floppy drives, optical drives, Firewire, ethernet), it doesn't seem like them to create a new connector that incorporates SD.

I'm sure all the photography folks on here will disagree with me, but I'm just curious to see how many average users use them.
Agree to a point, CompactFlash would be of more benefit to me but I still do use SD.
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 12:47 PM   #21
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As much as I like this idea, wouldn't this add more thickness to the port? It wouldn't work if Apple continues to roll out thinner Macs.
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 12:48 PM   #22
tonytiger13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpfenninger View Post
Call me crazy, but do that many people still really use SD cards? For a company that has a history of removing 'legacy technology' from products (floppy drives, optical drives, Firewire, ethernet), it doesn't seem like them to create a new connector that incorporates SD.

I'm sure all the photography folks on here will disagree with me, but I'm just curious to see how many average users use them.
I do. But as you said, it's only because I've taken up photography as a hobby recently. I can't remember the last time I used one before that. Except WAY back when I was doing stuff with a digital frame and maybe my Nintendo Wii.
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 12:48 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geronimo789 View Post
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ESATAp

Yeah, it really did not exist before at all, this is really high tech, unimaginably brilliant.

Don't get me wrong, I like Apple, they have a formidable design team and vision, but they aren't the messiah of computing either.

Also, big problem with combining ports is that you can only use one of them at a time, or you'd have to go buy an adapter to use them at the same time. Now there's something Apple surely won't do right ? Creating more adapters at 29 bucks for people to buy
I was going to post the exact same thing, only scrolled down to see that you already pointed it out.

I've seen many notebooks with such a port.
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 12:49 PM   #24
DavidMarks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pubwvj View Post
What would be really useful is a single port that combined:

USB (all flavors)
SDCard
iPod30PinConnector
Thunderbolt

This would provide excellent backward compatibility. It's a shame each time they upgrade the connector to have to throw away your external devices (e.g., BMW car).

Apple could do a LOT better at legacy support.
If they did we'd probably still be using floppy disks, PS/2 ports, optical drives and wired internet!
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 12:49 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac21ND View Post
Merge the lightning port with an SD card slot for the iPhone/iPad and then we'll talk.
I think merging the lightning port with a micro SD card slot sounds better.
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