The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted a new patent to Apple concerning a hybrid DisplayPort/USB 3.0 connector.

Patently Apple reports that the connector will work on all iOS devices and will "eventually work its way through Apple's entire hardware lineup".

The patent covers a connector that is compatible with DisplayPort and USB 3.0, at least, and will work with all types of Apple hardware, from the iPod to the Mac Pro. Patently Apple speculates that it could make its debut in the fifth-generation iPhone.

The recently announced Thunderbolt technology in the new line of MacBook Pros is compatible with DisplayPort and could also be compatible with the connectors described in the patent.

The patent covers various scenarios that could mean that the male plug connectors and female receptacles are much smaller thanks to a single row of contacts. The connector would support the transfer of power, data, as well as audio and video in both directions.

The application for the patent was filed on 29 September 2009 under the names Stephen Paul Zadesky, Brian S Lynch and Jason Sloey. The 'Reduced Size Multi-Pin Male Plug Connector' was just one of eight patents granted to Apple by the US Patent and Trademark Office this week.