Apple files two patents highlighting next-gen connectors for smaller devices

Thu, Apr 26, 2012

News, Rumors

If you take a look at Apple’s patent filings, it becomes abundantly clear that the company is constantly striving for ways to improve and refine its product line, and one characteristic it always has in its focus is slender design.

To that end, Patently Apple recently highlighted two new patent filings from Apple which detail next-gen dock connectors which would enable Apple to create slimmer devices across its product line.

Apple states that as devices and mobile devices in particular become smaller and slimmer they’re also being designed with more functionality. Apple sees this trend continuing well into the future; one that will continue to pack even more features into increasingly smaller devices…

In general, Apple’s invention relates to circuits, methods, and apparatus that provide connector receptacles having a smaller size. One example provides this smaller size by decreasing the depth of the connector receptacle. Contacts in the connector receptacle may be protected from damage due to improper insertion of a second electronic device or connection to a second electronic device. This protection may be achieved in various ways.

More often than not, a company as large as Apple comes up with patents for ideas that never find their way into actual products, but a smaller dock connector may be coming sooner than later.

A few weeks ago, iMore reported that Apple is working on a “micro dock” for the upcoming iPhone 5. With a smaller dock connector in tow, the next-gen iPhone would have a bit more room for a larger battery and larger 4G chipsets. And one of course, demands the other in that 4G can drain the battery unbelievably quickly, thereby requiring a larger battery to keep the device alive throughout the day. And with rumors that the next-gen iPhone will sport a larger screen, the iPhone will need as much room for a battery as possible.

And speaking of iPhone form factor changes, two rumors surfaced this week claiming that the iPhone 5 will sport a thinner design. One in particular, coming from the Korean based ETNews, claims that the next-gen iPhone will utilize “liquid metal” alloys that will enable a thinner, lighter, and ultimately more durable device.

It might be too soon to make such a blanket pronouncement, but the iPhone 5 may very well be a monster upgrade.


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