updated 10:35 am EDT, Thu August 16, 2007
Apple laptop I/O patent
Apple may be planning to offer a retractable set of USB, FireWire, Ethernet, and other connections on future notebooks to decrease the overall size of its portables, according a patent filed by the company which surfaced today. Apple's "Connection System" patent filing shows a series of I/O ports on the rear of a laptop that close to conserve space but flip down to provide access when needed. The patent also entertains the possibility of allowing each port to open and close individually, providing access to only those connections that are needed at any given time. Apple is aiming to conserve space by recessing the various connections into the body of the laptop, which would also allow the company to create a tapered edge around the entire system when all ports were in their dormant positions.
Industry watchers expect the Cupertino-based company to unveil its first ultra-portable notebook by early 2008, which would bring an even smaller laptop to Apple's lineup of portables.
Readers interested in Apple patent and trademark filings can visit our patent blog at http://www.macnn.com/patents