The Complexities of Why iPad Has no HDMI Port

When Apple announces a new iPad or any other iOS, it comes as no surprise that a HDMI port is not built in. We originally put this down to Apple wanting to control the way we connect to our iPad or iPhone in that we use the standard 30 pin dock connector. We also believed it to be that Apple doesn’t want to mess with a design by having a side full of ports. On all iOS devices (not inc Apple TV), Apple keeps a clean look around the edges by having a small amount of buttons and a single port to connect to a computer. The only other slot available is the discretely positioned microSIM slot that hides behind an almost invisible cover.

Chris Alexander has another take on this though in that he says the HDMI port is actually related to costs and licensing.

Chris first starts off by suggesting that the reason for the lack of it is not related to space. The iPad 2 measures 8.8mm in thickness while a HDMI A port is relatively smaller at 4.55mm. What he thinks is happening is the way the HDMI standard is licensed (by HDMI Licensing LLC). What Chris reports is that there are two licensing methods. The first is a flat out $10,000 fee with the second option being $5,000 with a $1/device sold. Due to Apple expecting to sell millions of them, the former would more than likely be the option.

But, with that there is also a fee per device of 15 cents per unit sold. If you add branding it drops to 5 cents and if you use anti-piracy it drops to 4 cents. On millions of units sold, that equates to $2,250,000 based on the 15 million original iPads sold in the first 9 months.

With Apple selling the HDMI connector separate, and not even branding it separate at that, they can then recoup that cost which will probably be somewhere in the region of just a few hundred thousand dollars.

We are not sure of the full reasons, but it appears that Apple either is working HDMI out of the equation due to design, or it is trying to keep costs to a minimum by not including it. Perhaps another option is that Apple suggest that only a small percentage use the function, so why add the port to keep 10% happy. Who knows with Apple.

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