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Apple Patents Connector With USB 3.0 And Thunderbolt

Apple has been granted a new patent for the iPod, iPad and the iPhone dock connector. This new dock connector, upon being launched, is likely to replace the 30-pin connectors which are currently in use for all iDevices.

The new port, called "a reduced size multi pin male plug connector” will add USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt compatibility to the iDevices, making data transactions much faster than they are at present. Thunderbolt is a collaboration between Intel and Apple, which is said to offer transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps.

Should the technology come about, transferring data such as photos and music to or from an iPhone, iPad or iPod would become lightning fast, almost instant.

It is not clear from the patent whether the new connector will be backward compatible with the current dock connector.

However, as the patent suggests, it will allow the future connectors to have a considerably reduced height, which could be significant in making even more slimline devices, as the iPod Touch is already as slim as it can get using the current 30 pin connector.

The new connector could appear later this year in updates to Apple's mobile devices or next year when Macs with USB 3.0 are likely to hit the market.