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Jun 9, 2009

Apple Calls It: The SD Format Wins

Somewhat lost in the many WWDC announcements made Monday was an interesting point: at Apple, at least, the SD card format has won.

Most of the new MacBooks have replaced an ExpessCard slot with an SD card slot, which was designed as a slot to bring in photos from digital cameras. (Given that the iPhone lacks a memory card slot, I think it's fair to say that the SD slot serves way to bring content in to the MacBook, rather than send it out.)

Why do the new MacBooks have an SD card slot, instread of a five-in-one card reader, like other notebooks and desktops? Because "SD is really ubiquitous," Todd Benjamin, director of portables for Apple, said during an interview on Monday at Apple's developer conference in San Francisco.

Consider all of the various small-form-factor card formats there are, or were: CompactFlash, the various Memory Stick flavors, SmartMedia, miniSD, microSD, xD.

It's not clear whether the new MacBook card slot supports the SDHC format, as well as SD. If it doesn't, it surely will in the next revision, with a roadmap toward the terabyte SDXC standard. As you can see, there certainly are quite enough different dorm factors within the SD format alone. It's also unlikely that the smaller SD form factors will go away as the external storage formats for cell phones.

Still, Apple essentially killled off the floppy; it's probably time that it helped consolidate the industry on a single flash card format for desktops, as well.

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