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

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

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    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.

    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. theanimala macrumors 6502

    Mar 2, 2007
  3. theheadguy macrumors 65816

    Apr 26, 2005
    This makes more sense on how it differentiates from the previously awarded patent. Kudos to Apple for improving on existing hardware.
  4. dlewis23 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2007
    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. shubie macrumors newbie

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


    Jun 26, 2009
    Burpelson AFB
    Can't see how this is anything but good news. As long as the connector is not too fragile.
  7. BMcCoy macrumors 65816


    Jun 24, 2010
    Yeah, looks a bit vulnerable to me.. after repeated insertions, that flexible stalk must be susceptible to snapping.
  8. GeneralChang macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2013
    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. mazz0 macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2011
    Leeds, UK
    Really? You think a flexible, moving part would reduce breakage?
  10. 1Zach1 macrumors 65816


    Feb 8, 2008
    Northern Va
  11. troop231 macrumors 603

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

    Nicky G

    Mar 24, 2002
    Baltimore & NYC
    "...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.

  13. TimUSCA macrumors 6502a


    Mar 17, 2006
    Aiken, SC
    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. mdhwoods macrumors regular

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

    Aug 3, 2010
    Upstate NY
    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. macduke macrumors 604


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    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. macguyindc macrumors newbie

    May 7, 2014

    "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. Mr Fusion macrumors 6502a

    Mr Fusion

    May 7, 2007
  19. samcraig macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
  20. roow110 macrumors regular

    Jul 1, 2011
    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. vpndev macrumors 6502

    May 11, 2009
    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. cube macrumors G5

    May 10, 2004
    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. NachoGrande macrumors 6502a

    Mar 30, 2010
    just flexible enough to fail after 1 year of use.
  24. alexgowers macrumors 65816

    Jun 3, 2012
    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

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    $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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