Apple Nabs Fast Data Transfer Patent

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Apple patents are usually a source of intrigue, but a new patent for faster wired data transfer left me scratching my head.

The patent, filed last year and published Tuesday, describes a smaller 30-pin connector for devices such as iPhones and iPods, leading to either USB, with contacts for USB 2.0 and 3.0, or a DisplayPort connection. The patent makes no mention of Thunderbolt, the interconnect technology that Apple and Intel introduced this year via a mini DisplayPort jack on the MacBook Pro.

While faster wired data transfers are an admirable goal, I hope this isn't the direction in which iPhones and iPads are headed. Apple's devices need wireless transfer more than they need fast tethered connections.

It's already possible: an app called Wireless Sync does the job, but Apple has rejected it from the App Store. An Apple-sanctioned version is on my iOS 5 wishlist.

But if we're talking about the distant future -- and let's face it, Apple patents often refer to far-off concepts that may never become reality -- I hope Apple's planning for a day when it doesn't need a 30-pin connection at all. I'd love to see an iDevice that lacks an unsightly gap in the bottom of the hardware (with inductive charging to restore the battery). For Apple, focusing on faster wired transfers would be to move in the wrong direction.

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