Apple might be making us switch cords soon

“It seems like just yesterday I got an iPhone 5 for the first time and had to say goodbye to the small army of iPhone 4 cords, with their fat connector thingies and propensity to break due to planned obsolescence, that I’d accumulated over the years,” Drew Millard writes for The Outline. “According to a recently filed patent by Apple, me, you, and everyone else with an Apple product might have to go through that whole rigmarole again soon, because Apple’s got a new connector thingy in the works.”

“The patent application is vague about what the cord’s going to be used with,” Millard writes, “stating it might be connected to, ‘portable computing devices, tablet computers, desktop computers, wearable computing devices, cell phones, smartphones, media phones, storage devices, portable media players, navigation systems, monitors, power supplies, adapters, remote control devices, chargers, and other devices.'”

Illustration from an Apple patent application
Illustration from an Apple patent application

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Four points:

1. There was no “planned obsolescence.”

2. It’s all going to be okay.

3. Apple files patent applications all the time that never go beyond that stage.

4. The future is not wired.


  1. Not that old Chestnut again. I have an iPad3 Retina and am happy with it. With my iphone 4S it was the same cable that i could use for both devices. Then with the iphone 6S and SE i have 2 different cables. Please dont add another cable Apple, it is inconvenient.

    1. Fret not Snoop-a-Loop i very highly doubt apple will be bringing a new proprietary adapter involving wires anytime soon. They have already adopted usb-c across their line and odds are if they do change the connector on the iphone and ipad it will be to usb-c if anything.

      That being said i deal in the consumer electronics industry as a wholesale buyer and my sources are telling me the expectation is that we will get a USB-c to Lightning cable in the boxes this year allowing faster charging times for the phones.

      This all being said i do expect apple to pioneer wireless charging at a distance (15ft) in the very near future and that will require you to buy all types of equipment 🙂

  2. The original article copied a couple of pictures from the patent application and added some vague speculation. It’s a shame that they didn’t bother with the text from the patent application, which helps make some sort of sense of the pictures and all the other pictures in the patent application.

    It doesn’t seem to be a connector intended to replace Lightning in iPhones. Instead it appears to be a design for a versatile connector which has been designed to optimise impedance matching at all times when used for very high bandwidth signals, minimising problems when the connector is mated, disconnected or while being inserted.

    The way that patent applications are worded makes it sound as though it could do anything, but this idea sounds more likely to be used for either video or high speed data connections where a controlled impedance is required for rapid data transfer.

  3. ““It seems like just yesterday I got an iPhone 5 for the first time and had to say goodbye to the small army of iPhone 4 cords, with their fat connector thingies…”

    The iPhone 5 was released on September 21, 2012. That is just shy of six years ago, not yesterday. It doesn’t matter if you have temporal dissonance, Drew. The lightning connector has been around for about six years, and it was a great improvement over the dock connector.

    Fat connector thingies…really?! It was called the 30-pin dock connector, Drew. And it lasted for about 12 years before it was completely discontinued.

    I don’t know what Apple intends to do with this patent application. But USB-C appears to be the new connector of choice for Apple. All of the MBPs use USB-C exclusively. I would expect iOS devices to follow the same path.

  4. This looks a lot like a USB-C connector. Apple works with the USB standards body. I suspect aspects of this patent are part of the USB-C connector or may be used in future standards implementations.

  5. The proposed new connector is asymmetric in design with a clear “upside” and “downside.” Apple will never revert to this style of connector of iDevices because it is a clear step backward in ease of use. One of the big advantages of the Lightning connector was users could plug it in without worrying about the proper orientation compared to the 30-pin Dock connector. This article is written by an idiot trolling for clicks by scaring people into worrying about a new connector change. Don’t take the bait!

    1. If you were to read the patent application, you might realise that this isn’t a replacement connector for iDevices, but a seriously high bandwidth connector for critical roles. Duplicating the pins on the opposite edge would mis-terminate the feeds and create potential reflections of the signal. There are multiple references within the patent application describing the ways that this design maintains a constant impedance.

      This connector design is all about high performance for exceedingly demanding purposes.

  6. Besides isn’t Europe requiring all charging adapters for phones to be compatible / interchangeable with one another? Haven’t heard any more information on that topic since the MDN reported the news. The law is supposed to reduce waste and save consumers and manufacturers money. Think of Nintendo not including a power adapter with their “New” 3DS.

  7. Would be nice to have a universal cable for all devices even if it meant short term hassle. The mix of USB C/Tnunderbolt, Lightening with the odd headphone socket added to the confusion mix is a serious mess of inconsistency but somehow technical or political and probably both I guess I am dreaming.

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