New iPhone Headphone Jack: The Design You Haven’t Seen!

Patent #2: Dual orientation connector with side contacts

On June 20, 2011, just a few weeks after they filed the first patent, Apple filed a patent called Dual orientation connector with side contacts. I’ve highlighted a few sections of the patent abstract that I feel are very interesting:

iPhone Dual Headphone ConnectorThe present disclosure relates generally to connectors such as audio connectors and in particular to a dual orientation audio connector with side audio contacts that can be used in place of standard audio connectors. The connector has an intuitive insertion orientation and a smooth, consistent feel when inserted and extracted from its corresponding receptacle connector. A corresponding connector jack may be configured to receive the dual orientation audio connector.

Intuitive insertion orientation? Smooth, consistent feel when inserted and extracted? Whoa, Apple – let’s keep it clean!

In the patent, Apple shows the current iPhone headphone jack alongside a micro-USB headphone jack version that was developed by other companies to demonstrate their shortcomings:

Current headphone jack and micro-USB headphone jack

Apple includes several drawings of the new headphone connector:New iPhone Headphone Adapter Drawings

The patent shows a connector with reversible left / right audio channels and connections for a microphone and ground:

iPhone New Headphone Jack Connectors

Apple also demonstrates what the headphone jack might look like on an iPhone or other device:

apple dual orientation headphone jack

Any way you slice it, this connector looks and feels a lot more “Apple” than patent #1. It looks like the natural companion to the Lightning cable. I’m betting on this design for the next iPhone headphone jack.

On the next page, we’ll talk about when Apple will decide to ditch the headphone jack entirely, how you’ll be able to use your current headphones with the iPhone 7, and I’ll share my predictions for what the headphone jack will look like on the next iPhone.

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About Author

I'm a former Apple employee and the founder of Payette Forward, and I'm here to help you with your iPhone.

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