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Monday, December 01, 2008, 01:00 pm PT (04:00 pm ET)

Apple pushing Mini DisplayPort through no-fee licenses

Apple is offering no-fee Mini DisplayPort licenses to anyone interested in designing products around the new specification, a move the company hopes will take the fledgling display connector mainstream.

The Mini DisplayPort is a small form factor connector invented by Apple to fully support the VESA DisplayPort protocol. Unlike the Mini-DVI and Micro-DVI connectors common on previous generation Apple products, the port is capable of driving resolutions up to 2560x1600, which is commonly used on 30-inch displays.

In an update to its software licensing page spotted by ArsTechnica, Apple announced that it's not charging for Mini DisplayPort licenses, which can be obtained by filling out a Mini DisplayPort Implementation Agreement [PDF].

The Cupertino-based company notes that Mini DisplayPort is "particularly useful on systems where space is at a premium, such as portable computers or to support multiple connectors on reduced height add-in cards."

Mini DisplayPort can already be found on the latest family of MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and MacBook Airs, in addition to the new 24-inch LED Cinema Display. Apple has also said it plans to implement the connector on all of its future Mac designs.

By offering no-fee licenses, the Mac maker hopes other PC vendors will adopt MiniDisplay port and help build a market for compatible devices. The move also presents the possibility that third parties will develop some well sought-after solutions, like a Mini DispayPort to HDMI adapter for hooking MacBooks up to HDTVs and a connector that will allow older Macs to connect to the new 24-inch LED Apple Cinema Display.