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Apple shares mobile display plugs with outside world

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When Apple gives something away, you can be sure that they're investing in their own best interests.

Today, the company announced that it will freely license the specs for their Mini DisplayPort display-connection scheme, which it introduced in the new MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and the updated MacBook Air. By doing so, they surely intend for third parties to embrace the little fellow and create displays and display adapters that conform to the new standard.

Long-time Mac users who remember Apple's ill-fated proprietary ADC connector are to be forgiven for their anxiety that the Mini DisplayPort (MDP) will suffer ADC's cold and lonely demise. Fear not, brethren. The MDP is but a Mini Me-sized version of DisplayPort, a full-fledged VESA standard supported by Dell, HP, Lenovo, Nvidia, Phillips, and others.

This is not to say that DisplayPort - Mini or otherwise - is rapidly taking the LCD world by storm. Although it has a number of inarguable advantages over DVI (not to mention Methuselah's favorite, VGA), including greater bandwidth, the ability to piggyback a USB signal, a smaller form factor, and a secure attachment without thumbscrews, DisplayPort has yet to meet with roaring success.

But give it time. Apple is, and they're betting that DisplayPort has a bright future. Considering how the company has recently been somewhat conservative in introducing new, cutting-edge technologies, it's good to see some risk-taking.

But before Apple's MDP licensing effort bears fruit, the company will benefit from a modest-if-steady cash flow from their cabling adapters. Sales of their MDP to DVI Adapter ($29), MDP to VGA Adapter ($29), and MDP to Dual-Link DVI Adapter ($99) are sure to be brisk as owners of the new 'Books hook them up to their existing displays.

And we all know that Apple never met a revenue stream that it didn't embrace. ®

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