Apple Files for Patent on Flexible Headphone Connectors

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. macrumors bot

    MacRumors

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2001
    #1
    [​IMG]


    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today published an Apple patent application (via AppleInsider) covering an idea for flexible headphone connectors to avoid plug breakage and accidental equipment damage - a common complaint of many users. The patent application, which was first filed back in June 2011 and lists Albert Golko, an iPhone and iPad product development engineering manager at Apple, as its inventor, describes a system whereby:
    [​IMG]
    The patent describes an audio connector (i.e. a standard 3.5 mm headphone jack) that is manufactured from a flexible material that allows it to bend slightly during use. The audio connectors currently in use on most devices are inflexible and offer no strain relief, meaning that any sudden force to the headphone jack risks damaging the port, which often warrants an expensive repair.

    A further addition to the patent is a certain level of flexibility along the connector's length, which allows for more strain in areas that are prone to breakage, such as the tip or base of the plug. Many smartphone users are accustomed to wrapping headphones around the device, which causes an enormous amount of strain to the base of the plug. It is envisioned that Apple's patent will help reduce this slightly by providing more relief to both the headphone jack and the connector.

    Although the intentions of the patent application are as of yet unclear, Apple has in the past expressed interest in improving and shrinking headphone plugs and jacks. A patent application published in 2010 outlined a headphone jack design using pogo pins rather than cantilevered metal strips for electrical contacts within the jack, a design which could allow for thinner headphone jacks. Existing audio connectors, both in the standard 3.5 mm and smaller 2.5 mm sizes, remain limiting factors in making smartphones and other devices smaller and thinner, but Apple's work toward thinner jacks and more flexible plugs could help the company achieve smaller and thinner device designs in the future.

    Article Link: Apple Files for Patent on Flexible Headphone Connectors
     
  2. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Location:
    Upper Midwest
    #2
    Always improving the little things. Can't complain.
     
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Klae17

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2011
    #3
    There is nothing wrong with the 3.5 mm head phone jack. Not everything has to be thinner. We do not want the same problem as the original iPhone!
     
  4. macrumors 65832

    VanillaCracker

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2013
    Location:
    Washington D.C.
    #4
    Really? This is something they spent time on?
     
  5. macrumors 601

    goobot

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2009
    Location:
    long island NY
    #5
    Except all headphone jacks are going to be smaller soon, you can't use the same port forever. Technology evolves.
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    iMacBooked

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2013
    Location:
    4 8 15 16 23 42 ✈ Country: Belgium
  7. macrumors 6502

    jrlcopy

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    #7
    lol,

    Dear Apple, you're focusing on the wrong part of the plug, the metal part that goes into the iPhone is fine, it's your cable that goes from the big plastic coupling to the cable itself. And the problem exists on ALL your cables.
     
  8. macrumors 603

    Technarchy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    #8
    Are you new to Apple?
     
  9. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    Location:
    Ohio
    #9
    Why bother with a smaller jack and go with 100% BT?
     
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    #10
    (0_o)
    That is kind of awesome. The idea is not about thinner anything from what I can tell. It is about the fact that these are portable devices and so the connection sees a good amount of strain that could only be addressed by making the plug flexible. think about the kind of accident that would cause the tip of a headphone plug to break of in the jack. That is the target problem. That is a problem on every one of their devices that *has* a headphone jack. If something gets stuck in a laptop headphone jack it means replacing the whole logic board.
     
  11. macrumors 68000

    sonicrobby

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2013
    Location:
    New Orleans
    #11
    Or keep the standard we are all used to :p
    Id rather not have 2 sets of headphones, 1 to use with older devices and 1 for newer ones. I also wouldnt like to worry about charging or replacing bluetooth headphone batteries.
     
  12. macrumors 65816

    Gemütlichkeit

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    #12
    Do want. Love apple for the attention to detail.
     
  13. macrumors 6502

    FakeWozniak

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2007
  14. macrumors 65832

    VanillaCracker

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2013
    Location:
    Washington D.C.
    #14
    Just figured they'd be doing bigger and better
     
  15. macrumors 68020

    Kebabselector

    Joined:
    May 25, 2007
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    #15
    Because not all of the world wants to use BT headphones.
     
  16. macrumors 68000

    cclloyd

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2011
    Location:
    Alpha Centauri A
    #16
    But... typeface just isn't a pressing issue.
     
  17. macrumors 603

    Technarchy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    #17
    Apple has been enamored with little details since...forever.

    But I'm sure bigger and better is in the mix as well
     
  18. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Location:
    Upper Midwest
    #18
    Typeface is the pressing issue! :p
     
  19. macrumors 65832

    VanillaCracker

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2013
    Location:
    Washington D.C.
    #19
    You're right. I always hope for the bigger and better, ofc
     
  20. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    Location:
    uk
    #20
    never understood....why they need to be so deep? why not surface mounted (say, two concentric metallic circles on body) and magnetically attached that requires a good force to detach? i thought u could still get good quality sound in that setup... no?:confused:
     
  21. JAT
    macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2001
    Location:
    Mpls, MN
    #21
    That sounds like a good setup. But the reason is that we've had the TRS connectors is they've been the standard since before the 1970s. Millions of products use these, both consumer and professional grade. Changing this would be almost as hard as changing the standard electrical outlet in a particular country.
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

    iLilana

    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    #22
    huh?

    can you patent this? also can you patent this?
     
  23. i4m
    macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2013
    #23
    Any attention to detail is important. Why trust them with anything else if they can't get typeface right?

    ----------

    They are addressing a fundamental problem here, all cables have a weakness when transitioning from the metal plug. This seems to alleviate the tension that causes the part you're talking about from wearing too fast.
     
  24. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2013
    #24
    I think that you are on to something here. It would be a huge change to the industry standard, but it is a great thing to think about.
     
  25. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2013
    #25
    totally useless, there are MANY other things which apple needs to focus on, but all they did was wasting their time on this.
     

Share This Page