Ars Technica are reporting that Apple has taken the decision to offer no-fee licenses to companies that develop products utilizing the DisplayPort connection, with the aim of accelerating the port’s ascension to a ‘de facto’ standard. Having recently announced that they will be transitioning their entire hardware lineup to DisplayPort, Apple is firmly backing the new standard.
DisplayPort does have several advantages over older standards such as DVI, based on more open protocols and reducing the need for control circuits built in to displays. It’s easier to use as a plug (not requiring thumbscrews), offers the possibility of connecting multiple monitors and also works well in computers where space is an important factor (the slimline MacBook Air for instance).
As with FireWire, Apple is one of the first companies to heavily push the new standard by integrating it into their lineup. FireWire suffered from a lack of development at the outset due to expensive licensing fees, allowing USB to take off as the most common connectivity standard. This move suggests that Apple is learning from past errors, attempting to push the new technology and reduce the cost to developers.
Gaining the support of hardware developers for the new standard is an important move for Apple, as it could help to provide connectivity in areas which Apple hasn’t yet ventured into. The possibility of connecting your Mac to a HDTV, for instance, is a widely demanded feature by new adopters. If you are a developer interested in the new standard, it is worth reading Apple’s announcement.
With recent laptop releases lacking FireWire 400, Apple has essentially marked an end to the format they originally pioneered. Hopefully the same won’t be true in another few years with DisplayPort.