An Apple patent (number 2010087098) has appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office for a reduced size multi-pin female receptacle container. It hints at a combined USB 3.0 and DisplayPort connector.
Per the patents, receptacle connectors and male plug connectors having a reduced size in at least one direction can be provided. One example reduces height by not including a center contact tab or tongue, but instead places contacts on an insulator that is adjacent to a bottom portion of the receptacle. Another example may reduce width by reducing contact pitch, and may use a particular shape of contact to achieve god signal quality.
Receptacle connectors and male plug connectors can also provide support for one or more new high-speed communication standards, such as USB 3.0 and DisplayPort. Methods can provide one or more standardized connector components to speed connector design and manufacture of new electronic devices such as media players, thus reducing their time to market. The inventors are Jason Sloey, Brian S. Lynch and Stephen Paul Zadesky.
Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Electronic devices such as media players and related devices have become ubiquitous over the past several years. As they have proliferated, the types and styles of electronic devices have diversified. During this time, a theme has been that consumers want more functionality packed into an ever-decreasing form factor.
"At the same time, many new high-speed communication standards have been developed. Examples of these new standards include the new high-speed USB3, DisplayPort, and others. Although it is desirable to have an electronic device such as a media player be able to use these new high-speed communication standards, these new standards are often tough to meet. Meanwhile, it is also desirable that electronic devices be able to also communicate using conventional signaling such as analog audio and video.
"Also, as the styles and types of electronic devices such as media players are expected to continue to multiply, it is desirable that these new styles and types be able to be introduced quickly to the marketplace.
"Accordingly, various embodiments of the present invention can provide male plug connectors and female receptacle connectors that may have a reduced size in at least one direction. Some embodiments of the present invention can provide support for one or more new high-speed communication standards. Further embodiments of the present invention can provide one or more standardized connector components to speed connector design and manufacture of new electronic devices such as media players, thus reducing their time to market. These electronic devices may range from smaller hand-held devices, which may include portable media players, to larger devices, such as laptop or desktop computers.
"An embodiment of the present invention may provide a receptacle connector having a reduced height. The receptacle connector can include a shell, an insulator core, and a cavity configured to receive the male plug connector. The shell can have a top, a bottom, a first side, a second side opposite the first side, and an opening at a front of the receptacle connector. The insulator core can have a bottom surface that is adjacent with an inner surface of the bottom of the shell. A plurality of locations can be spaced apart in a single row and located on a top surface of the insulator core. The cavity can include a first region between the top surface of the insulator core and the top of the shell and a second region between sides of the insulator core and the sides of the shell.
"Another embodiment of the present invention may provide a receptacle connector having a reduced width. The width may be reduced by reducing a width of contacts or spacing between contacts, or both. The contacts may have a first section located within an insulator core. The first section of at least one contact can have sides that are substantially parallel to each other except for one or more recesses. High-speed data communications may be achieved with such a contact, with or without a reduced width of the connector.
"Another embodiment of the present invention may provide a receptacle connector that can include an insulator core and a plurality of contact locations spaced apart in a single row and located on a first surface of the insulator core. The contact locations can include a first portion of contact locations designated for ground and a second portion of contact locations designated for carrying signals. The contact locations of the first portion can be separated from each other by two contact locations of the second portion.
"Another embodiment of the present invention may provide a method of manufacturing a plurality of receptacle connectors for a variety of types of media players. A plurality of substantially identical insulating cores, each insulating core including a plurality of contacts, can be provided. A plurality of types of shells can also be provided. Each shell can be configured to attach to any one of the plurality of insulating cores, and each type of shell can be configured to be used in the assembly of a different type of media player. For each of the plurality of substantially identical insulating cores, one of the plurality of types of shells can be selected, and the selected shell can be attached to the respective insulating core."