Apple prepares for even thinner iPhones, files patent application for shaved down headphone plug

“Apple has patented a shrunken-down headphone connector that shaves precious volume off existing 3.5mm and 2.5mm jack standards by reshaping the plug, thereby removing — albeit temporarily — an inevitable limiting factor in its quest for perpetually thin smartphones,” Mikey Campbell reports for AppleInsider.

“The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday issued Apple U.S. Patent No. 9,142,925 for a ‘D-shaped connector’ that replaces the existing low-profile headphone plug and receptacle standard with a shorter, thinner design,” Campbell reports. “This ‘improved’ model would sport all the functionality of a modern 3.5mm TRRS (tip, ring, ring, sleeve) connector, but with a trim profile suitable for use in extremely thin devices.”

“Taking on a ‘D’ profile, Apple’s plug has one flat side that acts as a keyed feature, meaning it restricts insertion to a matching D-shaped cavity,” Campbell reports. “Apple could bypass TRRS designs altogether and introduce a Lightning-connected headphone, but that would prohibit simultaneous charging. It remains to be seen what Apple has planned, but if its portable device designs get much thinner, the demise of the 3.5mm plug is a near certainty.”

Apple slim headphone plug patent
Source: USPTO

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The start with the kludgier of two ideas, what about two lightning jacks per device, one at the top or bottom and one on a side (allowing for landscape positioning for accessories yet to be developed), that are smart input/output jacks? When a power source is present, the jack will charge the device. When it isn’t, it will output audio.

More elegantly, inductive charging, as already employed by Apple Watch, could easily come to future iPhones, thereby eliminating the issue of simultaneous charging while listening to music and allowing iPhones to simply have one smart input/outputjack that could output audio and also charge the device on the rare occasions the inductive charger is not available (i.e. you forgot to pack it).

Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. – Steve Jobs

Philips debuts Lightning-powered noise-cancelling headphones, no batteries required – January 8, 2015
Dumping the headphone jack for Lightning and other ways Apple could reinvent headphone tech – June 22, 2014
Why Apple may axe the 3.5mm headphone jack – June 20, 2014
Apple may ditch analog 3.5mm headphone jack for Lightning to make thinner devices – June 6, 2014
Apple introduces MFi specs for Lightning cable headphones, iOS software update to deliver support – June 5, 2014
Apple preps HD audio for iOS 8 plus new Apple In-Ear Headphones and lightning cable – May 13, 2014
Apple patents biometric sensor-packed health monitoring earphones with ‘head gesture’ control – February 18, 2014
Apple paves way for more affordable iOS accessories with lower MFi and Lightning licensing fees – February 7, 2014


  1. I disliked my Sony phone, which required an audio jack adaptor. Why would this be any different?

    The best solution is to have no adaptor at all, if you are going to go this far. Adopt Bluetooth 4 or 5 or whatever the next standard will be, and use wireless headphones. (not really any better, but at least it’s a standard.)

    This is lightning connector all over again.

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