Apple’s obsession with making its products as thin as possible is alive and kicking and we might see this come to life in the iPhone 7.
In an article posted by Apple Insider, the Cupertino, California-based company has patented a new, trimmed-down version of a headphone/earphone connector which is expected to be two millimeters thick, 1.5 less than the standard 3.5 mm audio jack.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office released Patent No. 9,142,925 which shows a D-shaped connector which is flat on one side. Here’s how it looks like:
Here’s how the connector would fit into the audio jack:
The D-shaped plug would snugly fit into the smaller, D-shaped hole and will be held in place either magnetically or with springs. The smaller hole will help Apple in designing a thinner smart phone in the long run. The flat portion of the connector, which gives it its distinct D-shape, saves a millimeter of space.
Earphone capabilities won’t be compromised: the strips along the connector will still carry audio and microphone signals to and from the phone. However, earphones and headphones sporting 3.5 mm connectors will definitely be incompatible with devices equipped with smaller holes. Potentially, this could mean you could no longer use your old headphones on newer devices. Ugh.
The iPhone 6 is currently Apple’s thinnest smart phone to date measuring at 6.9 mm thick. Meanwhile, the soon to be released iPhone 6s is thicker (7.1 mm), mainly because of its improved 12 MP camera, aluminum body, and added touch sensors.
Rumors suggesting the next iPhone will be the thinnest one which could only 6.1 mm thick, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Though there’s a long way to go before the iPhone 7 is released, the new patent could be the stepping stone to making it a reality.
Apple could invest in using Lightning port earphones to make eliminate the earphone outlet, but it will prevent charging and could turn off potential customers who do not want to invest in Apple headsets.
The 3.55 mm jacks are relatively older compared to the other iPhone components, like the camera and hard drive, which have been getting smaller as years progress.
If Apple persists in making its devices thinner, we could see the death of 3.55 mm jacks in Apple products in the future. Notably, the new iPad Air and iPad Touch are reported to be thin as well, so seeing smaller, D-shaped holes for earphones and other connectors won’t be a far fetched possibility.