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Appleinsider points to a a patent application 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
 

cliffjumper68

macrumors regular
Mar 1, 2005
221
1
Castle Rock, Colorado
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.
 
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aricher

macrumors 68020
Feb 20, 2004
2,211
1
Chi-il
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.
 
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MrCrowbar

macrumors 68020
Jan 12, 2006
2,115
337
Cool. Every other manufacturer would have given you a bunch of ugly adapters. Collapsible ports are nice indeed.
 
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samh004

macrumors 68020
Mar 1, 2004
2,222
133
Australia
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.
 
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CalBoy

macrumors 604
May 21, 2007
7,849
37
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:(
 
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pacohaas

macrumors 6502a
Jan 24, 2006
516
3
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.
 
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icerabbit

macrumors regular
Jul 2, 2006
201
205
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.
 
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mozmac

macrumors 6502
Apr 28, 2005
332
15
Austin, TX
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.
 
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digitalbiker

macrumors 65816
Apr 24, 2002
1,374
0
The Road
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.
 
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Fisheke

macrumors member
May 16, 2006
49
0
Antwerp, Belgium
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.
 
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FocusAndEarnIt

macrumors 601
May 29, 2005
4,473
734
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.
 
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Redbeard25

macrumors regular
Oct 4, 2003
150
16
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."
 
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fastbite

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2007
682
0
London
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...
 
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koobcamuk

macrumors 68040
Oct 23, 2006
3,190
9
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.
 
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