Patently Apple has unearthed a 2009 Apple patent for a Hybrid DisplayPort/USB 3.0 adaptor. And since Thunderbolt, the zippy new transfer technology developed by Intel and Apple, is based on DisplayPort technology, it will likely fall under the umbrella of this patent.
The patent also allows for the possibility of future connectors having a reduced height, which is notable because the iPod touch is already as slim as it can get without dropping the current 30-pin connector. But while this is definitely an exciting addition for the ever-growing pile of rumours for the next generation of iOS devices, the possibility exists that this patent was filed defensively to keep competitors at bay. Though we would point out that today’s version of the connector has itself evolved over the years, beginning its life with a FireWire 400 standard which was later dropped in favour of USB 2.0.