Apple scores 'power connector' patent
Apple was recently granted a patent for a device it calls a "power connector."
However, the device is so substantially similar to a standard automotive 12-volt power plug - in less health-conscious days called a cigarette-lighter adapter - that the penetrating intelligence of the US Patent and Trademark Office would surely not grant a patent for it if that were, indeed, its sole purpose.
After all, the USPTO defines a patent - or, more specifically, a utility patent, as "a new, useful, and nonobvious process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof."
A connector designed to draw power from a car's 12-volt plug is certainly neither new nor nonobvious - even when it's defined as an "ornamental design."
Apple's power connector
Our puzzlement at this patent faded, however, when we viewed the images submitted with the application.
Patent #D585375 is clearly an industrial-strength rubber johnny.
But Apple claims it to be a power connector - but it's neither a new nor nonobvious one, so how could it be patentable?
Then we realized that Cupertino's puckish consumer-electronistas could simply be toying with the Queen's English, offering alternative and euphemistic meanings for the terms "power" and "connector."
After all, a French letter has nothing to do with Gallic postal service.
The exceptionally concise patent filing gives no clues other than its title as to the device's intended us. It does, however, list among its 16 inventors Apple's premier designer, Jonathan P. Ive.
And come to think of it, Mr. Ive is most often referred to by his nickname, Johnny.
We rest our case. ®
Much as I thought yesterday, looking at the shape of the other end.
No - you can't fit any interesting body parts into it as it's way too small.
It's the 12V plug part of the Apple airline adapter
"Second, if you look at Figs. 7 and 8 you will see that the back of the plug appears to incorporate a USB receptacle. So this is a USB power adapter that plugs in to an automobile power receptacle."
Ah. Just like the one I bought on eBay (part of a Palm charging kit) for a couple of quid last year, then.
Paris, because a little butter helps it slip in more easily.
Apples (and oranges) connectors
Well, at least it's not as bad as Apples ADC connector.
"I have a great idea lads! I've designed a connector for monitors that carries video, power, AND USB!"
"I know, all we have to do now is convince Nvidia, Intel and ATI to produce all their cards for us with this new proprietry connector"
"Then all we have to do is get all the VDU manufacturers on board..."
"...and they all have to pay a royalty to us for the privalige of using our connector!"
"What if they want to use a non-ADC device?"
"We can sell them a converter for $149"
"What? US dollars?!?"
"Don't worry, we'll scrap the entire thing in three years, anyway!"