updated 11:30 am EST, Fri November 30, 2007
Apple optical disc patent
Recently published by the US Patent and Trademark Office is an application from Apple, relating to optical disc drives. Originally submitted on May 22nd, 2006, the application details an an improvement to slot-loading drives, which allows them to play smaller-sized three-inch discs, in addition to regular-sized five-inch ones. Normally, only tray-loading drives can play both. The application is attributed to iPod engineer Anthony Fadell, who has devised two possible adapters: one with two folding halves, and another in which four sections lock together.
If used in future Apple products, the technology could be a minor but welcome addition, since even the most recent iMacs and MacBooks are unable to run three-inch discs. The issue is not critical mainly because such discs tend to hold promotional media, rather than critical applications.