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Apple’s universal connector wants to take away your adapters

If you are a gadget lover like most of us, it is for sure that you will have more than 3 mobile devices, including your laptop, tablet, netbook, smart phone, gaming consoles, and others. The problem that comes with this is that you will have to carry a lot of cables and adapters. I usually have a small and a separate backpack to carry all the cables and adapters of my mobile devices. Even though I have a high end Samsung smart phone and a high end Samsung tablet, which use identical adapters, I cannot charge both the same devices with the same adapters. This is one of the biggest issues faced by mobile gadgetiers.

Apple, the company with solutions to all problems, has come up with a solution that focuses on minimizing the number of adapters that you need to carry. A recent patent filing by the Cupertino tech giant explains the story. The patent is for a “Universal connector,” which I guess is aptly named. The filing talks about the problems of the current adapters on the market.

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.

Apple’s universal connector will contain “a number of relatively small pads or contacts arranged in an array or other pattern.” These pads can be individually configured according to the programmer’s or the product’s needs.

For example, each insert may have a unique pad arrangement which identifies the connector insert as being a connection for a specific interface, such as a USB, HDMI, DVI, power, Ethernet, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt, or other type of interface. In a specific embodiment of the present invention, each of a number of connector inserts may have a similar pad pattern, with one or more pads omitted, where the omissions indicate the type of connector insert.

The connector will determine which pads need to be activated for the particular receptacle once the cable has been inserted. Fiber optics can also be used here, indicating that these can act as an internet data packet channel. But it is not yet sure if the Cupertino tech giant will be using this technology in any of its upcoming products. But the invention is cool for sure.

Source: Apple Insider