Apple is motivated to introduce an ultra portable laptop and according to their calculations one of the biggest limiting factors is the port connectors. With that in mind, Apple submitted a patent for a collapsible USB connector (and other connectors like FireWire and RJ-45) to aid in the ultra slim effort.
After reading a summary of the report here it’s clear Apple is looking to create a “highly tapered chassis shape.” (although the picture in that report does show it).
So how does this collapsing port work? Without to much detail the idea is this: When the ultra portable laptop is closed so are the ports. When the laptop is opened those ports expand and allow connectivity using traditional sized cables.
Seems to me this methodology is asking for trouble, unless the only thing being connected are low speed peripherals like mouse or scanner.