A little story about PATA and ZIF; while they are two different things, they seem to sometimes be used interchangeably. I found this explanation on WikiAnswers HERE.
Best I've been able to gather, if someone says ZIF when talking about connecting an HDD then they are referring to a PATA connection in the ZIF style, because ZIF isn't a connection type, but rather "merely a concept in connections."
With the PATA connection for the air maybe being custom built for apple, I find dubiousness. If it is custom made to be different from a standard PATA connection then it can't really be called PATA because it wouldn't conform to the standard.