Apple’s latest move worries Windows PC assemblers

“Apple has filed a patent application with the USPTO for a hybrid USB/SD port which combines a USB port with SD card slot to save space to make notebooks slimmer,” Aaron Lee and Joseph Tsai report for DigiTimes.

“Ultrabook vendors are concerned because they are worried that if Apple obtains the patent, it will gain the upper hand in competition for slim notebooks, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers,” Lee and Tsai report. “The sources pointed out that Apple’s patents for MacBook Air’s wedge-shape industrial design in June 2012 already forced many brand vendors to [not] use the design, which can significantly reduce the size and weight of the system.”

Lee and Tsai report, “With the hybrid USB/SD port patent, the sources are concerned that it could give Apple more advantages in design.”

Read more in the full article here.


    1. What a lame (future) excuse for not being able to compete… I mean, it’s a cool idea to combine those two things into one port, but that’s NOT going to be the deal-breaker and deal-maker, when a customer chooses a laptop.

      But there is one excuse they can use. Windows 8. Everyone (other than Apple) is stuck with it. After all of these years, that’s what dependency on Microsoft has given PC makers… an excuse.

    2. Father,
      forgive them,
      they know not what they do,
      But they do know what they copy!
      And it maketh them sad, nay mad!
      for fire up their copiers they may no more can do!!.
      Damn those advantage giving patents for they cause copiers to cease functioning.

  1. “Ultrabook vendors are concerned because they are worried that if Apple obtains the patent, it will gain the upper hand in competition for slim notebooks…”

    That’s pretty funny.

    1. It is especially funny because Apple (as usual) invented the segment when it released the first MBA. As I recall, the MBA was not all that well received. But Apple kept improving it and Intel finally offered up $400M to incentivize PC notebook vendors to develop “Ultrabooks.” The MBA is the one and only true Ultrabook. The PC/Windows versions are pale imitations (as usual).

    2. When did Apple ever lose the “upper hand”? The Air was the first Ultrabook and remains the best. No one has been able to beat it feature for feature yet and remain even close in price. In fact, I have yet to see anyone even come close at ANY price.

    1. I’m pretty sure that port wouldn’t be seen as innovation by the computer industry. They’re looking for something really spectacular, like lightning in a bottle. The tech industry is very choosy about what they consider innovation but I think it has to do, in part, with some change making some company a lot of money. To me, if Apple came out with some battery technology that added, say, an increase of 15% longer life, I’d be turning somersaults, but a lot of pundits would just yawn. They need to see something really conspicuous to consider it innovation.

      1. Your obsession with market intelligence is getting my goat. Your investment in future value is knocking up against your unwarranted faith in market rationality. Instead of anguishing over the divide, divest and spare us the angst.

  2. Strange this one – there’s me thinking apple already had the upper hand – I think what hey were meant to say is put us out of business for selling cheap crap

  3. Holy shit. The comments on the article this links to are amazing…there’s a ton of full retard going on. Too many angry IT/IT for friends & family that will never like Apple unless Apple shits golden eggs and hand delivers them to these people for free.

    1. It is not their fault, they have a lot of time to spend online as they scan for malware/viruses and the constant stream of windows updates.

      Apparently MS made the perfect prison as most of these clowns have no clue just how trapped they are babysitting an operating system.

      1. Agree 100%. After the PC vendors have spent their dying moments loading bloated anti-virus and crapware onto their plastic products, the owners of said new products struggle to deal with incompatible drivers, fifty thousand freaking updates every time you turn your PC on and feature bloat. There is ALWAYS a price to pay for being cheap.

  4. Interesting. The basic idea has been around for a while on HP laptops with a combined USB/esata port. The patent wording looks like it allows for different combinations of ports as well. I wonder if HP have patented a similar idea

  5. Well maybe the PC assemblers should start innovating instead of borrowing ideas??? Oh that’s right they let apple do all the work and then just copy. Now they are worried they can’t copy because of a patent. That’s just not fair!! Why can Samdung copy patents and get away with it? I think what apple should do is invent a new patent system and have it patented.

  6. Apart from Apple, which manufacturers are making profits from selling ultrabook style computers ?

    It seems to me that while many ultrabook computers get launched, they seem to wither and disappear from view very rapidly. Apple makes significant profits from MacBook Airs, it already has the upper hand and pioneered the concept ( which was widely ridiculed at the time ).

    The thing that PC manufacturers should be afraid of is their own folly. Bringing products to market when there is no viable business plan is ridiculous. Unless they manufacture products that can be sold profitably, they will be unable to continue trading.

  7. Why is Apple the only one coming up with new ideas? Why are the windows pc manufacturers failing to innovate? Maybe their stocks should go way down and pundents should be asking how long Dell, Samsung, and the others will survive.

    1. New Ideas in the PC world are worthless if the plan is to install a copy of windows in the end.

      It does not matter how much they innovate, in the end they have the same thing as they have now – a fancy shit box –

  8. “Ultrabook vendors are concerned because they are worried that if Apple obtains the patent, it will gain the upper hand in competition for slim notebooks…”

    GAIN? How does one gain, what ones got?!

  9. Fire up your photocopiers PC vendors. After years of loading crapware onto your cheap-ass products, your race to the bottom is nearly over. Only then can you all be put to sleep, never to see the light of day again. Boo hoo!

  10. Another step to making sure apple is the only brand on the shelf. That’s what we need.

    It will improve the world and lock poor people out of computing, then less idiots online.

  11. USB connectors usually don’t take off in the market unless licensing is open to all. I bet Apple will play it smart and will open the patent to FRAND licensing for all. Rarely happens but it makes more sense.

  12. Very good. Invent, use and patent. Like Apple do. Not buy some random patent from company X and go around sueing everybody just for the money. My idea to stop the patent trolling is to require the patent to be in use by the company if its not the original inventor. And if the patent is not in use, by the original inventor or a company that may have bought it they patent should expire very rapidly so that companies can not sit on drives of patents they don’t use it intend to use holding back innovation and competition.

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