Apple has just collected the US Patent Office's approval to add another to its vast hoard of patents
. This one, numero 7,918,689 in the USPTO annals, describes a multi-pin male plug connector and a corresponding female receptacle, with the innovation being a reduction in size thanks to a single row of contacts. You can think of it as Apple's next generation of 30-pin connectors, or rather the next generation as the company envisioned it back in late 2008, the date of filing for this document. Back then, while the age of the click wheel was still upon us, Apple wanted to transfer USB 3.0
signals over its newfangled plug, aspirations that were codified in claim 11 of its patent. We may now be a solid 30 or so months removed from that doc hitting the Patent Office's inbox, but the desire to have advanced data transfer tech integrated straight into the company's proprietary connectors is unlikely to have withered. Would it be a stretch to expect Apple's now working on a similar solution for the Thunderbolt
interconnect -- whose plug looks identical to the one used for DisplayPort -- that is presently gracing
its MacBook Pro line?