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Iphone Media (Apple) Apple Hardware

Was the iPod Accessory Port Inspired By a 40-Year-Old Camera? 263

An anonymous reader writes "While Samsung has been accused of repeatedly borrowing everything from Apple's hardware, to packaging and accessories, it appears that all current iDevices share a port which is very similar to one found on a forty-year-old Polaroid camera. It gets more interesting when you realize that camera was the 'supreme achievement' of a man Steve Jobs idolized. Edwin Land was the creator of the Polaroid camera and, if Steve Jobs obsessed over Land's devices the way many do with iPhones, etc. today, there's a chance this similarity is not a coincidence."
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Was the iPod Accessory Port Inspired By a 40-Year-Old Camera?

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  • Why not? (Score:2, Interesting)

    It wouldn't surprise me in the least that a look/feel would be emulated, especially if the designer were idolized. It might even be a sort of design Easter egg, the sort of in-joke that only those in the know would get as funny. Like font jokes, which are only funny if you use the fonts every day.

    • Re:Why not? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 08, 2011 @11:12PM (#37651800)

      They should use that in court against Samsung.
      "It's not parent infringement, it's an Easter egg!"

  • by ynp7 ( 1786468 ) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @11:08PM (#37651784)

    You guys remember the days when every piece of bullshit spewed by an Apple fanboy wasn't immediately posted on the front page of slashdot?

    • Yes. The same days when /b/ was good, and Reagan had any positive stats other than CHA.

    • The days your refer to in "Remember the days", as a user with an id close to 2 million, must be long gone. At least since August this year. Maybe even earlier.
  • by YesIAmAScript ( 886271 ) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @11:10PM (#37651790)

    That slot on a Polaroid camera was actually an edge connector. The flash bar was printed on a PCB and had gold trace "fingers" on a protruding section, like an ISA card. These are very cheap, as only one side of the connector even is a connector at all, the other is just a PCB. But they also aren't physically very strong and aren't good for a lot of insertion/removal cycles.

    The iPod 30-pin has a metal shelled connector on both mating pieces. These are more precise, last longer and with the a latch system (present on some iPod cables, not others) physically strong. You can hang an iPod Mini easily from a latched 30-pin connector while the Polaroid flash bars fell out without even putting weight on them.

    Also note Steve Jobs didn't design Apple's 30-pin connector, Donald J Novotney did.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Someone needs to learn what inspired means...

    • by danlip ( 737336 )

      I like Apple's stuff but I hate that connector. I've had 2 pairs of iPod speakers go bad via the connector (one of them even had a bracket to keep the iPod immobile). It seems rather weak to me.

    • That slot on a Polaroid camera was actually an edge connector.

      And it's not like they were uncommon or anything either.

    • Not that it's actually important to your point or anything, but I just tested my second generation iPod touch on it's genuine apple cable, it dangled like a champ, no disconnection. I even bounced it for a couple of seconds before it finally disconned.
    • by EdZ ( 755139 )
      I wonder if the original dock connector design was a card-edge connector, that was replaced with the shielded pin connector when it proved to be more robust. If they'd decided on the dimensions already and then changed the connector (and soldered it to the traces already present)...

      I'm still of the opinion that it's a wild coincidence, but it's certainly an interesting coincidence.
  • Interesting - how much time until there's an app for loading Polaroid pictures to the iOS?
    • by crossmr ( 957846 )

      if polaroid makes a camera with an SD card slot, then it already exits.. The eye-fi wifi SD Card.

  • by Quinn_Inuit ( 760445 ) <Quinn_Inuit@yah o o . c om> on Saturday October 08, 2011 @11:13PM (#37651806)
    Slashdotted within ten minutes at 2100 EST on a Saturday night? What are all of you people doing reading /. now?
  • I'd state that the current USB port and a connector on the Gameboy would be closer than a PCB edge connector (which was made to give enough juice to pop flashes, flip the board, pop more flashes.)

    • The original Gameboy link cable port is actually the inspiration for most modern connector types, such as USB and FireWire.

  • by DeepFried ( 644194 ) * on Saturday October 08, 2011 @11:22PM (#37651848) Homepage
    This is my server. Running wordpress. I have supercache enabled and all of my media is on a CDN. Still couldn't handle the load. Sorry guys. Sorry for submitting Timothy. I really thought it was up for the task. Best, M
  • Who wants to hear some blogger gossip about how some component of an Apple product kinda-sorta-maybe looks like that of some other 40-year-old product? It's in the same vein as comparing the Kennedy/Lincoln assassinations: you can always find random coincidences if you look hard enough.
  • Why don't they just ask him if it's true?

    Oh. Right. How convenient.

  • Almost every PDA since the 1990's has had iPod-like connectors, since before USB.

    Palm and Windows PDAs and phones have had most of the other things Apple-fans associated with the iPhone, including the launch screen, MP3 players, finger keyboards, cameras, etc.

    For tablets, it's pretty much the same: tons of prior art, tons of prior designs that were quite similar.

  • by wisebabo ( 638845 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @12:38AM (#37652106) Journal

    Here's something that is barely relevant about standards. At least some of it isn't made up! ;)

    Why are (most) automobile axles as long as they are?

    Because they were the same length as the then railcar axles (I think railroads were originally narrow Gage).

    Why were railcars axles as long as they were?

    Because that was the Gage (duh) of the railway.

    Why was the Gage of the railway set to be that width?

    Because it matched the width of the wagons and carriages used on roads at the time.

    Why was the axles of the wagons and carriages standardized on that length? (they were made before mass production so many varying lengths would be more probable).

    Because they were made to match the ruts formed in the often muddy roads.

    Why were the ruts in the road formed at that particular width?

    Because one width was used by one kind of common vehicle (the roman chariot).

    Why was that width particularly useful?

    Because it was the width of two horses.

    (Sort of) Moral: nothing is new and our primary transportation technology is based on horses assess!

    • by IICV ( 652597 )

      I prefer the version that ends with the "fact" that the girth of the Apollo rocket was constrained by the average width of a pair of Roman horses. It's still not true, but more entertaining.

      • The one I heard was the girth of the Space Shuttle solid rocket booster because it had to go through a rail tunnel.

        • by dlgeek ( 1065796 )
          Apparently the 737-900 (the longest 737) is at it's max possible length. What's the constraint, you might ask?

          Well, the fuselages are made in Kansas then shipped via rail to Washington for final assembly. At one point, there's a tunnel through the Rocky Mountains whose curvature limits the length of rail cars that can pass through.

          It's amazing what factors affect the engineering of various products that you'd never, ever realize...
    • Railway lines were originally in all sorts of different guages. For example the Great Western Railway was 7' 0.25". A bit later, the British government standardised it at 4'8.5" in Mainland Britain, and 5' in Ireland. The US went with the Mainland standard despite the fact that a significant proportion of them came from Ireland. BTW, in Italy, the home of Roman Chariots, they use a 1.5m guage (standard British guage is 1.435m in metric measurements).

  • some chancer trying to score some easy hits off Jobs' death. Quality work slashdot.

    • Not at all. I am a huge fan of Apple. And vintage Polaroid for that matter. I thought it was an homage in design. The products were decades apart and never competed. There's nothing technically useful about the Polaroid port for the iPod. I was guessing, yes guessing, that the exact dimensions may be a result of Steve liking the design. Having been a fan of Edwin Land and Polaroid.
  • A worthy role model (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RobinEggs ( 1453925 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @12:53AM (#37652152)
    Edwin Land would certainly be a good role model for Jobs.

    He was probably the greatest developer of optical and photographic technologies in American history. I'm particularly fond of him for designing the folding ultra-high resolution cameras that allowed the U2 spyplane to photograph objects at 2.5 foot resolutions from 60,000 feet up. Those cameras were refined into those used on the blackbird (80,000 feet and resolution high enough to see the stripes on a parking lot) and those used in satellites. These cameras were, of course, was just one of many achievements in his field.

    Anyone with those kind of standards would have been a god to Steve Jobs, I'm sure.
    • Why would spy planes need to use folding cameras?

      Do the cameras stick out into the airstream or something?

      Why not just make the lens part of the fuselage?

  • by Aphrika ( 756248 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @01:34AM (#37652234)
    Especially when you consider that the click wheel iPod is thought to be influenced by a 1954 transistor radio [bbc.co.uk].

    Plus even Jobs' comments about the iPhone 4 being "like a Leica camera" betray the fact to yes, their designers look to past gadgets for inspiration, so I wouldn't be surprised if someone given the task of locating the port saw the Polaroid camera and went "let's try that"...
  • by jovius ( 974690 )

    Why is it so important to not copy something or to no make something that exists better? The rules that govern free development are quite natural in the corporative world, but in the end we end up being self-centered hypocrites. Shouldn't the consumers decide?

  • Well done, timothy! You've linked to a malware-serving ad farm, right on the front page of /. where it will get thousands of hits.

  • I always thought it was satire, because the reasons given were so stupid.

  • posts starting with "An anonymous reader writes" should be filtered out, or just skipped over. Glad to see their server was slashdotted, saves the rest of us from this carp.

"In matrimony, to hesitate is sometimes to be saved." -- Butler