Categories: Global Tech News

Apple Scores Patents, Preps New Reversible USB Plug for iPhone 6 Connector

In the wake of announcements regarding the USB 3.0 Promoter Group’s finalized USB 3.1 Type-C spec, a January patent filing by Apple, Inc. (AAPL) has been uncovered which appears to offer a slightly different twist on this technology.  What’s more, this slightly different patent-pending connector could be bundled with the iPhone 6, which is expected to be announced early next month.
The USB 3.0 Promoter Group’s new Type-C connectors already shared some similarities to a prior Apple proprietary connector design.  The new double-side connection posts inside the USB Type-C spec housings are reversible — that is, to say they lack the orientation dependence of past (single-sided) USB connectors.  This is similar to Apple’s Lightning connectors, which are doubled-sided have no orientation dependence.
The Apple patent filing — U.S. Patent Application No. 20140206209 — does not cover a Type-C USB connector that requires a new housing and port.  Rather, it covers a similar connector for Standard-A ports — current USB ports.  The patent describes:

…a reversible Universal Serial Bus plug connector comprising: a body; a dielectric base; a shell extending from the body and having an opening at a first end that communicates with a cavity defined by four inner surfaces of the shell and the dielectric base.
[Apple’s new USB connector is similar to the USB 3.1 Type-C spec, but fits in current standard USB ports. [Image Source: USPTO]
Now two sources — a Chinese parts supplier, Dianxinshouji, and an Australian iPhone leaks blogger, Sonny Dickson — have released near identical pictures of alleged iPhone 6 Lightning connectors in the wild.  The new connectors sport the reversible style plug on its USB 3.0 port side.

A third party part based on Apple’s upcoming reversible USB design [Image Source: Dianxinshouji]

A shot of a supposed official plug in the wild [Image Source: Sonny Dickson via Slashgear]

If the rumors prove true, this would be the first major update to the iPhone connector, since ditching the 30-pin dock-style connector and embracing the new Lightning connector with the launch of the iPhone 5.  

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