Apple Reveals Furthers Details on Reversible USB Cable With Flexible Internal Connector

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Aug 21, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    #1
    [​IMG]


    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today published another Apple patent application that describes a reversible USB connector with a "double orientation design." (Via AppleInsider) Today's patent application, filed in February and titled "Reversible USB Connector with Compliant Member to Spread Stress and Increase Contact Normal Force," differs slightly from a separate application made a few weeks earlier by highlighting a key design detail that adds flexibility to the USB connector contacts.

    According to the patent description, the USB connector would feature a flexible tongue allowing it to bend to fit an existing USB port regardless of the insertion orientation. This flexible plug connector was mentioned briefly in the January patent, but Apple has expanded upon this idea in this latest patent application to address various types of support elements that would minimize stress on the flexible portion of the tongue while still ensuring strong contact between the connector and a USB port.
    As shown in the patent drawings, Apple's solution allows the contact portion of the tongue to be thicker and sturdier, while positioning it on a thinner, flexible "stalk". This stalk will deflect in either direction in order to provide room for mating with existing USB ports while maintaining a strong connection with the contacts.

    [​IMG]
    Apple's proposed USB connector with tongue showing durable contact portion (1939) on a thin, flexible stalk
    This flexible tongue provides a distinct advantage over current solutions from competing products, which typically use a rigid tongue that has been slimmed down to fit existing USB ports. Though these cables can be inserted in either orientation, the very thin tongue is susceptible to breakage. With Apple's proposed solution, the contact portion of the tongue can be thicker and more durable, with the flexible portion of the tongue minimizing the possibility of breakage and providing room for the thicker tongue to still fit in either orientation.

    Recently leaked photos and videos suggest Apple may be working on a new Lightning cable with this reversible USB connector. These cables may ship with future iOS devices and also may contain other features such as support for high-definition audio playback on Made For iPhone (MFi) audio accessories.

    Article Link: Apple Reveals Furthers Details on Reversible USB Cable With Flexible Internal Connector
     
  2. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #2
    Cables..., boring!
     
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
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    california
    #3
    This makes more sense on how it differentiates from the previously awarded patent. Kudos to Apple for improving on existing hardware.
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    #4
    I would hope so. The iPad Air can transfer data faster then what USB 2.0 transfers at in the real world. So new devices with an A8 and faster NAND could benefit from USB 3.0.
     
  5. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2014
    #5
    I know it's just a cable, but I'm pretty excited for this whole reversible USB thing to start showing up.
     
  6. macrumors 68040

    ValSalva

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    Burpelson AFB
    #6
    Can't see how this is anything but good news. As long as the connector is not too fragile.
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

    BMcCoy

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    #7
    Yeah, looks a bit vulnerable to me.. after repeated insertions, that flexible stalk must be susceptible to snapping.
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2013
    #8
    I'm running about equal parts "this is such a fabulous idea" and "that connector is going to break so fast."

    Really not sure how to feel about this.
     
  9. macrumors 6502a

    mazz0

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    Leeds, UK
    #9
    Really? You think a flexible, moving part would reduce breakage?
     
  10. macrumors 6502a

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    Northern Va
    #10
    This isn't really "Apple revealing".
     
  11. macrumors 603

    troop231

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2010
    #11
    Yeah these aren't going to last long, too many moving parts and complicated.
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

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    Baltimore & NYC
    #12
    "...the contact portion of the tongue can be thicker and more durable, with the flexible portion of the tongue minimizing the possibility of breakage and providing room for the thicker tongue to still fit in either orientation."

    I can definitely think of entirely different scenarios in which this would be useful.

    :D
     
  13. macrumors 6502

    TimUSCA

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Aiken, SC
    #13
    In theory, it'll reduce breakage in the sense that people are trying to force them cord into the port upside down. If it just flexes instead of having a movable joint or hinge, it'll be fine.

    Some of you amaze me with your armchair engineering. You think Apple would release a cable like this and then afterwards being all like, "OMG we totally forgot this could break since it moves! Why didn't we consider this and design something more durable!"

    Just wait for the damn thing to be released, and if you don't like it, nobody is forcing you to use it. There are plenty of 3rd-party normal cords out there. I, for one, will be happy to use a USB cable that works without having to attempt insertion 3 times.
     
  14. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #14
    Trying to figure out why the write up reference's 1600's yet the diagram shows everything in the 1900's.
     
  15. macrumors 6502a

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    Upstate NY
    #15
    Exactly what I was thinking. I don't like USB a whole lot, but I don't think that this is the solution to the problem.
     
  16. macrumors 601

    macduke

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    Location:
    Central U.S.
    #16
    With 128GB iPhones on the horizon, I would hope so! Syncing that much data from iCloud Drive would be really fun when you go to setup a new device.
     
  17. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 7, 2014
    #17
    Duh

    "Really? You think a flexible, moving part would reduce breakage?"

    People. The flexible moving part could be made with LiquidMetal which allow this to function flawlessly without breaking.

    Sheesh...when are you people going to stop having negative knee jerk reactions to news?

    I can't wait for this to roll out.
     
  18. macrumors 6502a

    Mr Fusion

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    #18
    ... Just go back to FireWire already. :rolleyes:
     
  19. macrumors G5

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    Jun 22, 2009
    #19
    Our product pipeline for 2014 is magical!
     
  20. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    #20
    Why can't Apple just ditch the metal housing altogether and just have the tongue like so many USB flash-drives these days?

    Does the metal housing serve any real purpose? (ground maybe?)
     
  21. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 11, 2009
    #21
    patent workaround

    I seem to recall something about there being a patent on the reversible version (sold by Tripp, I think).

    Maybe the flexible thingie would avoid infringing that patent?
     
  22. macrumors G3

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #22
    It would seem this would have to be an FRAND patent, as regular USB connectors are so annoying as to make this essential for all types of cables.
     
  23. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2010
    #23
    just flexible enough to fail after 1 year of use.
     
  24. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2012
    #24
    If the flexible stalk is make of high quality steel which is treated properly it should be as sturdy as any current plastic one way versions and get very good life.

    Now if only the cables didn't fray like mad! THEY NEEED BETTER PLASTIC SHIELDING APPLE PLEASE!
     
  25. HobeSoundDarryl, Aug 21, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2014

    macrumors 601

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #25
    $29.95 for a new (patented) USB 1 meter cable please.

    Where is the special chip that will only authenticate a genuine Apple licensed cable rather than cheaper Chinese cable knockoffs, so that only the $29.95 cable will work with our Apple stuff?
     

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