Apple Patents New Multifunction Port Which Combines USB and SD Card
Apple is known for slimming down its hardware and removing anything it feels can be avoided. The company was one of the first to begin the push away from optical media. Now, in line with its design ideology of slimming down on buttons and ports and replacing them with a flat, sleek exterior, Apple has filed a patent to combine the standard USB slot with the standard SD card slot into a single new hybrid port.
The patent, which was originally filed in December 2011 and published earlier today, refers to a “combined input port” that would let Apple put SD card slots onto even its smallest 11-inch MacBook Air, which currently comes equipped with just USB and Thunderbolt ports. The new technology could also lead the way to thinner versions of the larger 13-inch MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models. It could also provide a way to add additional ports to the side of a MacBook, since there won’t be a need to separate the card reader from a USB port.
“A first set of contacts is positioned on the substrate at a first depth into the receiving aperture” Apple’s application explains, “and a second set of contacts is positioned on a first surface of the outer wall at a second depth into the receiving aperture.” In the image below, of the port in cross-section, a USB plug is inserted and makes contact with the first set of contacts.
It’s unclear if the patent, which was filed almost two years ago, will be implemented in the next generation of Apple laptops. Patents don’t always lead to a final products, so Apple could have ditched this idea long ago.