Patent app details Apple’s continued quest to shrink audio jacks for thinner devices

“Apple’s quest to make electronic devices even smaller and thinner continues to be challenged by the size of a standard 3.5mm audio jack, prompting the device maker to explore new methods to shrink the input’s footprint, including collapsible ports,” Neil Hughes reports for AppleInsider.

“A new patent application from Apple was made public this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office entitled ‘Low Profile Plug Receptacle,'” Hughes reports. “Discovered by AppleInsider, the proposed invention details ways in which devices could accommodate standard-sized headphone plugs while shrinking even further in size.”

Hughes reports, “Apple has proposed a number of methods for making audio jacks smaller while still accommodating standard size plugs. One method would use a ‘flexible housing’ that would expand when a 3.5mm plug is inserted into the device. Using a plastic housing, the side of the device would bulge outward to allow a plug to fit.”

Much more info in the full article, including Apple patent application illustrations, here.


  1. Sounds like a bad idea to me. What’s the point of shrinking a product only to “expand” it to use it. Wouldn’t it be easier to create a standard and include an adapter?

  2. How far do we go in trying to shrink devices before they become too bridle? So someday down the road we’ll have an iPad or iPhone that is literally paper thin? How will that hold up in your bag or pocket before it bends or breaks into a million pieces. i think the new iPad is thin enough already. Instead of changing the jack why not make it wireless?

    1. I’d support Wireless before i’d support this..

      Going the thinner/smaller route on things like this, it will end up being a super small jack… and ONLY apple headphones will work. or in other words, going the HP route.
      Don’t do it apple.

      Leave the headphone jack alone for now, and include wireless for audio etc.
      Wait… Bluetooth… already there.

      1. What? This is for accommodating the STANDARD SIZED 3.5mm plug. Any ol’ 3.5mm plug would work.

        What I’m surprised at is why Apple hasn’t adopted the standard 2.5mm plugs that came on some phones.

        Unless the plan is to use 2.5mm by default and allow the device to stretch for a 3.5mm plug.

  3. “How far do we go in trying to shrink devices before they become too bridle?”

    The Titanium PowerBook comes to mind. Leaping ahead before available technology was ready for it.
    Good laptop, just wasn’t designed to take a lot of abuse.

    Everything Apple makes now, even though it is even thinner, is solid!

  4. I think they just patent these things as psychological warfare.
    This must scare the crap out of the other manufacturers:

    “Apple’s going how thin???”

  5. I’d like to see the jack and cords go away all together. Apple would do better to figure out how to produce a sleek wireless set of stereo earbuds. In white of course.

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