Apple’s Slim Headphone Plug Patent Could Mean Even Thinner iPhones

Apple's Slim Headphone Plug Patent Could Mean Even Thinner iPhones

Apple is continually on the quest to make their devices lighter and more sleek. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro, with its large screen size, incredible resolution, and impressive internals, is nearly half the depth and about the same weight as the original iPad.

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MacBooks are thinner and lighter than ever, despite incredible new features and performance. The iPhone is currently about as thin as could possibly get with its current configuration – but is Apple looking to make these devices even slimmer? A new patent issued to Apple may suggest so.

In the already sleek iPhone and iPad models, every millimeter of space counts. Looking at the bottom of an iPhone 6S, for example, we see that the body is just barely wide enough to accommodate the 3.5mm headphone jack. Although the 3.5mm headphone jack has been in use since the 1950’s, it remains the standard for headphones around the world.

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Apple may be looking to change that with U.S. Patent No. 9,142,925. The patent proposes a standard 3.5mm headphone plug that has been nearly cut in half into a D-shape. The plug, which shaves off about 1.5mm, would operate the same as any other headphone plug, albeit considerably slimmer.

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Because the plug is essentially “cut” just above the halfway point of a standard 3.5mm plug, headphones created with the plug would, theoretically, also fit snugly into any standard 3.5mm port to allow for use in other devices. However, that may still pose a problem for iPhone users who have already invested hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars into high-end headphones that wouldn’t fit into a new, slimmer jack. Adapters could always be sold, but Apple may be facing the same backlash they did when they introduced the Lightning connector back in 2012.

092415-NEWHEADPHONEJACK-4The JBL Reflect-Aware Are Some of the First Headphones Utilizing the Lightning Port

If implemented, the new D-shaped headphone jack would likely be a shock to many users. However, there’s no doubt that Apple would put the newly-found space to good use. A slimmer design would likely be appealing to many users, and could free up space for souped-up internal hardware – or perhaps for a larger battery?

Apple could also be looking to make a push towards headphones featuring a Lightning port. Several companies have already put forth offerings that utilize the port as opposed to the standard 3.5mm jack. Lightning port powered headphones have the capability of offering better sound quality and amplification, as well as active noise cancellation and more. Future models could feature integrated heart rate monitors, as well as app control capability right from the headphones.

As usual, it’s uncertain whether or not Apple will look to actually introduce this patent into their products. However, with the technological advancements in their mobile devices and laptops evolving at a rapid pace, don’t be surprised if the headphone jack on your next iPhone may look a bit different.

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