updated 05:20 pm EST, Mon December 1, 2008
Mini DisplayPort goes free
Apple is opening up access to its Mini DisplayPort standard, according to an announcement. Though Apple did not develop DisplayPort proper, the company has created a more compact version of the technology to accompany its new unibody MacBooks, as well as the revised 24-inch Cinema Display. Hardware makers looking to build peripherals compatible with the standard -- most likely third-party monitors and video cards -- must apply first for an evaluation license, and then for a separate implementation one. Once Apple agrees to the latter the standard is then free to use.
The two main limitations are that individual products may require specific trademark agreements, and that any suggested corrections to the standard must be submitted to Apple, which then can reproduce them without owing royalties.
DisplayPort is intended as an eventual replacement for DVI, and is being integrated into a growing number of displays and graphics hardware. Its primary advantages are a smaller design, and two-way interaction, which may for instance allow buttons on an LCD to change software settings. Apple has received criticism for its use of HDCP in Mini DisplayPort however, which may block iTunes content from being shown on some external screens.