According a report from Digitimes, Apple latest patent – Combined Input Port (US 20130166786) has Ultrabook vendors quaking in their boots. They fear stem from the fact that such a move by Apple will make the already thin Macbook Airs even thinner, making it difficult for others to compete
The Patent Abstract:
An input port for an electronic device for receiving different types of connectors, memory cards, or plugs. The input port includes an outer wall defining a receiving aperture, a substrate positioned within the receiving aperture. A first set of contacts is positioned on the substrate at a first depth into the receiving aperture and a second set of contacts is positioned on a first surface of the outer wall at a second depth into the receiving aperture. The first set of contacts is configured to communicate with a first connector and the second set of contacts is configured to communicate with a second connector.
The sources pointed out that Apple’s patents for MacBook Air’s wedge-shape industrial design in June 2012 already forced many brand vendors to now use the design, which can significantly reduce the size and weight of the system,” Aaron Lee and Joseph Tsai report for Digitimes. “With the hybrid USB/SD port patent, the sources are concerned that it could give Apple more advantages in design.”
“Taiwan-based connector maker Kuang Ying pointed out that a conventional SD card port has a width of about 27.1mm and a USB port about 13.5mm. If the two ports are combined, brand vendors will be able to save about 12-13mm of space on their notebooks’ exterior design, allowing them to add more functions, the report explains.