Is this proof that Apple invented USB-C?

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USB-C might be another Apple invention after all. Photo: Apple
USB-C might be another Apple invention after all. Photo: Apple

The war regarding whether Apple did or did not invent the USB-C connector witnessed a pretty decisive development this morning, as Apple was awarded a patent describing a slimline reversible input/output electrical connector for transferring a variety of data types including HDMI, audio, USB and video.

The patent was filed by Apple in the third quarter of 2013, but only published today. It names Eric Jol, Albert Golko, Mathias Schmidt and Jahan Minoo as its inventors: all current Apple employees, with the exception of Schmidt who now works at Nest Labs, founded by former Appler Tony Fadell.

Photo: Apple/USPTO
Photo: Apple/USPTO

USB-C was unveiled as Apple’s port of choice for its new super-thin MacBook at the company’s recent “Spring Forward” keynote. Among its many advantages is that it’s compact, super fast (roughly twice the speed of USB 3), can transfer power, and is reversible — so there’s none of the annoyance that comes with trying to plug a cable in upside down.

Given that Apple hopes the technology will become an industry standard, rather than just a proprietary one, the question of who invented it obviously carries considerable bragging rights.

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Recently, Daring Fireball‘s John Gruber waved a red flag to anti-Apple bulls when he claimed that Apple essentially invented the technology, saying:

“I have heard, I can’t say who but lets call them informed little birdies, that USB-C is an Apple invention and that they gave it to the standards bodies … and that the politics of such is that they can’t really say that. They’re not going to come out in public and say that but that they did. It is an Apple invention and they want it to become a standard.”

While Gruber has since elaborated on his statement to point out that Apple wasn’t the only company to have a hand in USB-C, that hasn’t stopped other tech sites like BetaNews publishing reports to rubbish the suggestion that the tech is predominantly an Apple invention.

It should be noted that today’s patent isn’t even the first one related to a USB-C type technology on the part of Apple, however. In the middle of last year, the company was granted a patent dealing with a reversible USB connector with many of the design hallmarks of USB-C.

We won’t know for sure until someone breaks down the whole story behind USB-C, but the more time passes, the less and less likely it looks that Apple was simply a bit player in the development of this next-gen technology.

Via: Patently Apple