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Friday, October 26, 2012

Apple Looking to Patent a Universal Connector

Just when we were starting to get used to the new Lightning connector, Apple files a patent with the United States Patent Office that indicates the company is thinking about a universal connector that would do away with the need for various adapters and limit the number types of ports any single device would need.

From the filing:

Customer confusion may also result as users try to sort through a bewildering array of acronyms. Design complexity may also be increased. For example, to avoid damage, each new connector may be constructed such that a connector insert from a cable that supports one interface cannot be improperly inserted into a connector receptacle for another interface.

Also, as these standards and interfaces evolve, devices with newer connectors may not be compatible with a user’s legacy components. For example, a new computer may have an HDMI connector, while a monitor may have a DVI connector. An adapter to convert signals from HDMI to DVI may be used, but such necessity invokes further customer dissatisfaction.

The new device would feature a design flexible enough to be used by a variety of peripherals, by including “a number of relatively small pads or contacts arranged in an array or other pattern.” This series of pads could be configured to supply ground, power, or signal lines to every and any Apple device you own (without changing shape and therefore requiring new cables and new receptacles).

While this concept may fly in the face of capitalism and eliminate what must be a considerable revenue stream for Apple (selling cables and adapters and accessories, oh my!), it fits their business model much more closely: keeping products simple, streamlined and easy to support.

Would you be upset if Apple released yet another dock connector if it was as universal and multi-purpose/multi-device as this universal connector promises it could be?

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