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Apple Patent Eyes Combined SD Card Reader, USB Port

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Apple is working to integrate a combined input port into its MacBook lineup. This is shown by the most recent patent granted to Apple by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and discovered by AppleInsider. The filing describes a new system integrating both a USB port and an SD card reader.

MacBook Air-combined port

While the SD card and the USB ports are only illustrative, it is notable that Apple is working on a system that could save lots of external space. If this is implemented in future devices – such as the MacBook Air used in the illustration — it could result in a much slimmer device.

In some embodiments, the input port may have electrical contacts located at different depths for the different connectors, e.g., a first set of contacts for the USB plug and a second set of contacts for the memory card. In this manner, the correct contacts may be aligned with the correct connector, even though both connectors may be inserted into the same port.

The described system can support only certain types of hardware due to variations in the port’s electrical connectors, although it is possible that the location of the contact surfaces can be adjusted to be compatible with a certain connector type.

MacBook Air-combined port-2

Although the market has similar products already, Apple’s innovative work has created a port that deals with two completely different protocols. The patent was originally filed in 2011 and credits Changsoo Jang as the inventor.

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  • Cyrus Wu

    Uhh. I hope they mean Combiend SD Card Reader / lightning port.

  • Supacon

    Just because Apple patent applications leak doesn’t mean that they are actively working on putting it in a product. In fact, I’d almost argue that this makes it less likely that it’s something that will ever make it to market. I suspect a port like this would be confusing to some users, which seems to deviate from their normal philosophy. I think they would sooner drop a port before doing this.

    I did like having combo eSATA/USB ports on my high-end laptop a few years back, though… too bad eSATA didn’t really live up to its promise.

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