backtop


Print 44 comment(s) - last by Piiman.. on Aug 23 at 11:25 AM


  (Source: Sonny Dickson via Slashgear)
Apple's upcoming iPhone may feature slightly different twist on double-sided USB, compatible with current ports

In the wake of announcements regarding the USB 3.0 Promoter Group's finalized USB 3.1 Type-C spec, a January patent filing by Apple, Inc. (AAPL) has been uncovered which appears to offer a slightly different twist on this technology.  What's more, this slightly different patent-pending connector could be bundled with the iPhone 6, which is expected to be announced early next month.
 
The USB 3.0 Promoter Group's new Type-C connectors already shared some similarities to a prior Apple proprietary connector design.  The new double-side connection posts inside the USB Type-C spec housings are reversible -- that is, to say they lack the orientation dependence of past (single-sided) USB connectors.  This is similar to Apple's Lightning connectors, which are doubled-sided have no orientation dependence.
 
The Apple patent filing -- U.S. Patent Application No. 20140206209 -- does not cover a Type-C USB connector that requires a new housing and port.  Rather, it covers a similar connector for Standard-A ports -- current USB ports.  The patent describes:

...a reversible Universal Serial Bus plug connector comprising: a body; a dielectric base; a shell extending from the body and having an opening at a first end that communicates with a cavity defined by four inner surfaces of the shell and the dielectric base.
Apple USB reversible patent
Apple Type-C USB[Apple's new USB connector is similar to the USB 3.1 Type-C spec, but fits in current standard USB ports. [Image Source: USPTO]

Now two sources -- a Chinese parts supplier, Dianxinshouji, and an Australian iPhone leaks blogger, Sonny Dickson -- have released near identical pictures of alleged iPhone 6 Lightning connectors in the wild.  The new connectors sport the reversible style plug on its USB 3.0 port side.

Apple USB 3.0 reversible connector
A third party part based on Apple's upcoming reversible USB design [Image Source: Dianxinshouji]

Apple Reversible plug
A shot of a supposed official plug in the wild [Image Source: Sonny Dickson via Slashgear]

 
If the rumors prove true, this would be the first major update to the iPhone connector, since ditching the 30-pin dock-style connector and embracing the new Lightning connector with the launch of the iPhone 5.  

Sources: USPTO, Dianxinshouji, via PocketNow, @SonnyDickson on Twitter



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

17 years in the making
By Nortel on 8/18/2014 1:43:13 PM , Rating: 3
USB devices were released in '97 and now 17 years later, we finally have reversible USB cables.

I hope this lends itself to other manufacturers for all other USB products. I'm not sure how Apple can patent the USB standard with a twist on the original design (from Compaq, Digital Equipment Corporation, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NEC and Nortel).




RE: 17 years in the making
By Reclaimer77 on 8/18/14, Rating: -1
RE: 17 years in the making
By Reclaimer77 on 8/18/14, Rating: -1
RE: 17 years in the making
By ritualm on 8/18/2014 2:05:20 PM , Rating: 5
This shouldn't be patentable by one company at all. Apple's going to use this as an excuse to sue everyone else for making USB cables with reversible connectors.

The US patent system is retarded.


RE: 17 years in the making
By Shig on 8/18/2014 2:27:57 PM , Rating: 2
It's just set up to fail. A subjective patent system isn't a good thing when your entire economy relies on it.

All Apple has to do is keep resubmitting the same patent over and over again until they find a person who is biased towards them or doesn't really know enough about the tech / software sectors.


RE: 17 years in the making
By retrospooty on 8/18/2014 3:14:09 PM , Rating: 2
That isn't really where it fails, although its related. What happens is they submit a patent and the group of people that do the initial granting generally approve it, even tough it may be vague, or redundant. Years and years later, long after products have shipped and infringing lawsuits have been filed it goes to the official review and can be found to be "invalid" and overturned as happened with this Apple v. Samsung one.

http://www.androidauthority.com/patent-apple-used-...

Ridiculous mess.


RE: 17 years in the making
By soccerballtux on 8/19/2014 12:24:04 PM , Rating: 2
what else do you suppose the economy rely on? There are reasons we have a vibrant tech sector, companies like Intel, Apple, Google, ARM. European patent regulation being a complete joke is one of them


RE: 17 years in the making
By tayb on 8/18/2014 3:57:02 PM , Rating: 4
They aren't patenting the idea of a reversible USB. This is a patent for a very specific proprietary implementation of reversible USB. The new spec will still be released and it will still be adopted by everyone including eventually Apple.

This really is not much different than the patented lightning connector that charges all of their iOS devices. Nothing to get worked up about.


RE: 17 years in the making
By Samus on 8/18/2014 8:15:11 PM , Rating: 2
Sometimes people forget that Apple was the first to ship a commercial PC with USB ports, the iMac, in 1998. It would be an entire decade before PC's would begin to ditch the legacy ports and adopt an extensible firmware interface.

Not that I'm promoting Apple products or technology, but I'm pretty sure Apple has every right to patent something on top of the USB standard as they were one of its forefathers. It isn't like people haven't made proprietary USB ports and patented them (Olympus, Sony, Nikon, Pantex and Canon all have custom USB ports.)

And even the article states there are 3rd party cables using the connector already, so even though its patented, its irrelevant if you want a cable with the reversible connectors.


RE: 17 years in the making
By caqde on 8/18/2014 9:05:22 PM , Rating: 2
That would be exclusive as a standard not the first to include USB. USB came out in 1996 and was available in computers not to long after that if I remember correctly. Apple is able to get away with exclusivity due to their Apple ecosystem and not needing to support all of the devices and hardware standard desktops need to be able to support which is also the reason that adoption of UEFI was slow for the PC especially on the custom PC motherboard side.

NOTE FOR EVERYONE:
Oh and this patent is kinda strange given that Tripp Lite has been selling them for around a year -> http://www.tripplite.com/product/Reversible-USB-Ca...


RE: 17 years in the making
By kmmatney on 8/19/2014 1:02:00 AM , Rating: 2
I remember buying motherboards with USB ports back in the 90's, but there was absolutely no use for them. In fact I remember Tom Pabst (from Tom's Hardware) calling USB a failure. Soon after that, Microsoft came out with their first optical mouse, flash disks were invented, and printers started using USB cables, and USB hit the mainstream. It took a few years, though. Windows 98 support was weak, and Windows NT didn't support it at all.


RE: 17 years in the making
By retrospooty on 8/19/2014 2:14:40 PM , Rating: 2
LOL... Tom Pabst was always a doofus when it came to tech. He was far more knowledgeable at creating and running a website than he was at the technical info at his site. I cant even recall how many over the top stupid things that site posted before I stopped going there all together. I recall in the 90's Tom's was the laughing stock of the tech website world.


RE: 17 years in the making
By grant3 on 8/20/2014 6:35:39 PM , Rating: 2
... laughing all the way to the bank.

(Of course, I did stop visiting after a few months.)


RE: 17 years in the making
By soccerballtux on 8/19/2014 12:22:34 PM , Rating: 2
frankly, if nobody else was willing to do the legwork, I think they deserve it.

Do we deserve to not be able to use it without patent? Maybe not. But I just have to shake my head that no managers were willing to investigate this option.


RE: 17 years in the making
By pandemonium on 8/23/2014 4:16:04 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
This shouldn't be patentable by one company at all. Apple's going to use this as an excuse to sue everyone else for making USB cables with reversible connectors.

The US patent system is retarded.


This needs a score of 8.


RE: 17 years in the making
By pandemonium on 8/23/2014 6:29:02 AM , Rating: 2
Poor infinity. Gets no love on here!


RE: 17 years in the making
By bug77 on 8/18/2014 3:25:49 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, you can't even imagine the hordes of engineers toiling for years to cut that piece of plastic off a standard connector. That's technical progress that would be unattainable without protection from patents.
</sarcasm>


RE: 17 years in the making
By Omega215D on 8/18/2014 6:21:00 PM , Rating: 2
Not true, there were strides in making reversible USB cables and some may have even made it to market. There were some issues with them is why I'm guessing they never caught on. The transmission pin setup may have played a role.


RE: 17 years in the making
By croc on 8/19/2014 2:25:20 AM , Rating: 3
USB is a standard. Apple's cable does not comply with the standard, therefore it is NOT USB. If they want to call it USB, then they should get their implementation incorporated into the standard, but that would mean giving up the rights to the patent(s)... So, as usual, it will be Apple against the world. Ho hum...


not sure if this is prior art
By menting on 8/18/2014 1:56:39 PM , Rating: 3
http://www.amazon.com/Tripp-Lite-Universal-Reversi...

Prior art? 1st user comment was in Jan.22, so they must have had this cable before that date. Or did they rip off Apple's patent? I have no idea which, since I don't know when this cable was actually released.




RE: not sure if this is prior art
By DanNeely on 8/18/2014 2:06:26 PM , Rating: 2
IF you check first available on amazon dates, Triplite appears to've launched them last August; the earliest I can find is one cable that was available on the 10th.

http://www.amazon.com/Tripp-Lite-Universal-Reversi...


RE: not sure if this is prior art
By menting on 8/18/2014 3:23:41 PM , Rating: 2
wow, never knew there's a "first available date" section on Amazon.
So, from that date, does that count as prior art?


RE: not sure if this is prior art
By menting on 8/18/2014 3:26:22 PM , Rating: 2
a little searching does show that tripplite is prior art. The company that first came up with it applied for a patent in 2009. http://www.macrumors.com/2014/08/18/apple-reversib...


RE: not sure if this is prior art
By michael2k on 8/18/2014 4:55:52 PM , Rating: 2
The patent is different though; Apple's specifically has a sensing circuit:
16. The plug connector set forth in claim 15 further comprising a sensing circuit configured to detect which of the top and bottom surfaces are in contact with contacts of a corresponding receptacle connector.

17. The plug connector set forth in claim 16 wherein the printed circuit board is configured to routes signals between the insulated wires and the contacts of the tongue using input received from the sensing circuit.

Tripplite's says:

2. The user-friendly male connector of claim 1, wherein each of said plurality of conductive contacts on said first side is electrically shorted to a corresponding conductive contact on said second side.

So in theory the two are distinctly different.


RE: not sure if this is prior art
By bug77 on 8/18/2014 5:19:18 PM , Rating: 2
May I point out that it's not "first to invent" anymore, it's now "first to file"?


RE: not sure if this is prior art
By ZuniZang on 8/18/2014 10:27:32 PM , Rating: 2
Invalidity is still predicated upon prior use.


RE: not sure if this is prior art
By bug77 on 8/19/2014 6:58:41 AM , Rating: 2
Ok, I didn't know that. Seems a bit weird, though.


OH MY
By Jim_Liquor on 8/18/2014 4:49:38 PM , Rating: 5
HOLY CRAP!!!! APPLE MADE A CORD!! WOW!!!! I AM SURE NO ONE ELSE EVER MADE A CORD BEFORE!!!! LETS PUT IT AS A HEADLINE, CAUSE NO ONE ELSE MAKES CORDS!!!!! APPLE APPLE APPLE!! OH MY LOOK A CORD!! I BET IT WON'T COST AT LEAST $30 !!!!!11

What the hell is this news for?




RE: OH MY
By JackBurton on 8/18/14, Rating: -1
RE: OH MY
By FITCamaro on 8/19/2014 8:20:03 AM , Rating: 3
I'm upset that they got yet another patent for something they didn't think up, do first, or was first to market with.


RE: OH MY
By retrospooty on 8/19/2014 8:40:51 AM , Rating: 4
"I'm upset that they got yet another patent for something they didn't think up, do first, or was first to market with"

Yeah... but you have to admit, they are really good that that. They manage to patent alot of things that they didn't invent, , do first, or be first to market with. It shows a ridiculously broken system. Apple is just manipulating the broken system with the skill of greasy lawyer.


RE: OH MY
By Reclaimer77 on 8/19/2014 10:13:09 AM , Rating: 2
I agree but this one even has me baffled.

How in the hell can Apple take the USB connector, which they do NOT own or can claim rights to, make a small tweak to it, and get granted a unique and proprietary patent on??

So I can take an HDMI cable, cut away a bit of the plastic, and call it "Reclaimer-Link" and get my own patent on it???


RE: OH MY
By retrospooty on 8/19/2014 10:32:27 AM , Rating: 2
"How in the hell can Apple take the USB connector, which they do NOT own or can claim rights to, make a small tweak to it, and get granted a unique and proprietary patent on??...So I can take an HDMI cable, cut away a bit of the plastic, and call it "Reclaimer-Link" and get my own patent on it"

Yup, and that is how it's broken... Like I said above: What happens is they submit a patent and the group of people that do the initial granting generally approve it, even though it may be vague, or redundant. - At this point, it is "Patent pending" - wwhich is what Apple has in the article above.

Years and years later, long after products have shipped and infringing lawsuits have been filed it goes to the official review and can be found to be "invalid" and overturned as happened with this Apple v. Samsung one.

http://www.androidauthority.com/patent-apple-used-...

It's a ridiculously broken mess on top of a ridiculously broken mess, and Apple is manipulating it like a seasoned pro.


RE: OH MY
By Piiman on 8/23/2014 11:25:58 AM , Rating: 2
Its not just any cord man! Its a damn nice iWHITE cord


I thought
By zerocks on 8/19/2014 9:52:06 PM , Rating: 2
I though that USB was the standard set for others to commercially use?
How can Apple own a patent to a new kind of USB type A cable connector?
This is such incredible foul play.




RE: I thought
By probedb on 8/21/2014 3:39:32 AM , Rating: 2
Well as it's an Apple patent, no-one else will use it, so yet again Apple are making proprietary connectors.

Why didn't they use a new type C connector and make it compatible with the world?


what's up dock
By 457R4LDR34DKN07 on 8/18/2014 8:39:19 PM , Rating: 2
I guess all those phone docks using the old connectors are worthless now.




RE: what's up dock
By lawrance on 8/19/2014 2:32:38 PM , Rating: 1
I know you're trying to make a joke but your comment doesn't even make sense since the end were talking about connects to a computer or charger.


By shikigamild on 8/19/2014 7:39:34 AM , Rating: 3
Look at :
http://www.tripplite.com/product/Reversible-USB-Ca...
http://reversibleusb.com/
http://www.digikey.com/product-highlights/us/en/wu...

But as always, because of Appleism and the cult behind it, now Apple invented reversible type-a USB cables "And we patented it".
And not only that, something that would be otherwise seen as "well, that's convenient" would be seen as "OMFG, REVERSIBLE USB!!, APPLE CHANGED THE WORLD... AGAAAAAIINN!!"




Not new
By ritualm on 8/18/2014 1:45:45 PM , Rating: 2
I have Elecom USB cables where the host end is a flexible PCB with contacts on both sides, so it works regardless of its orientation.

Prior art, anyone?




Removed Article
By maevinj on 8/18/2014 1:55:02 PM , Rating: 2
I like how Daily Tech removed their article about the iPhone 6 only coming with 1GB of memory. It would have been nice if they would have updated the article and stated that the source was wrong. That the 1GB listed on the sheet was actually NAND flash storage.




RE: Removed Article
By tonyswash on 8/18/14, Rating: -1
RE: Removed Article
By retrospooty on 8/18/2014 4:39:49 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah... Imagine someone pissing all over a company or products that they know nothing about. What a preposterous thing to do, right Tony? Oh, wait. n/m


apple has no copyright
By SPOOOK on 8/19/2014 4:55:03 PM , Rating: 2
apple has no copyright on this usb does and thay ripped off usb usb 3.1 c is the copyright apple has stolen it usb should sue apple over this




"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki