Apple files patent to prevent broken headphone connectors and iDevice damage

By , Aug 16, 2013

Apple patent (flexible headphone connector, drawing 003)

Yet more encouraging news that Apple is designing its devices for users, rather than engineers. The original designs of headphone connectors were brittle, permitting headphones to be inserted and removed at perfect right angles. However an Apple patent application published Thursday outlines flexible headphone connectors.

In other words, you’ll likely be able to wrap plugged-in headphones around your favorite iDevice without harming the hardware. The invention doesn’t come too soon – the headphone jack is seen as the one roadblock to creating thinner, more svelte iPhones…

The patent application titled ‘Flexible TRS connector’ describes a “flexible material that allows the connector to bend with respect to an insertion axis and prevent the connector from breaking when inserted or extracted improperly.”

Once the strain is removed, the headphone plug will return to its original shape.

Apple patent (flexible headphone connector, drawing 004)

While the patent could help iPhone users who casually insert and remove their headphones, the addition of elastic components will also make for easier future designs.

In 2010, Apple filed to patent headphone jacks using a pogo pin – a design change permitting thinner and smaller devices. In the iPhone 5 the headphone jack dominated the device’s thickness, becoming the sole limitation to potential further shrinkage.

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  • abdullah575

    intersting !!

  • Ted Forbes

    I can live with my headphone jack or cord breaking on me at the last minute. What i cant stand is the power cord breaking after just a few months of use. Apple need to fix this, this is much more serious a problem to me than the headset. Get with it.

    • Falk M.

      iOS power cords / synching cables spit on Apple’s general ambitions to provide top quality like nothing else.

      I hate iOS USB cables. Absolutely. HATE them.

  • Aleksander Azizi

    Good news, as my mac’s jack input got damaged because of some cheap jack plug…

  • Gorgonphone

    exciting stuff there apple..

  • Osama Muhammed

    if u know what i mean

  • Eric

    How about doing what my HTC Touch did several years ago… Use the same “micro usb” port for everything?

    Apple should just dump the headphone jack all together, and use the Lightning connector port for the headphones.

    This would further simplify the device and also allow it to be thinner.

    • Max

      That would complicate only things.
      You would loose compatibility with all existing headphones, so you would have to buy new ones or buy an adaptor.
      Also what is with the obsession of thinness? Have you held the iPod touch 5g (only about 3mm thicker than a 3.5 headphone jack), it doesn’t feel right because of how thin it is. I rather have a little thicker device to hold a bigger battery than get a thinner product every year.

  • npopson

    “Yet more encouraging news that Apple is designing its devices for users, rather than engineers.”

    What does that even mean?

    • Falk M.

      User experiences comes before spec sheets.

      Well, not so sure about that looking at the battery life…
      Thin is nice and all, but a solid battery life is definitely more important than saving 2 millimeters in my jeans’ pocket that only holds my iPhone anyway…
      Instead I’m lugging around a travel battery pack sometimes, which I conveniently forget to charge sometimes. Hoo-fucking-ray.