Future iPhones, iPads and iPods could become even thinner on the evidence of Apple's patent for a smaller headphone connector. This could spell danger (or at least 'adapter') for your existing headphones.

The patent (number 9,142,925) is for a “D-shaped connector”, which would replace the current 3.5mm plug found pretty much everywhere, including the iPhone

Apple’s design would incorporate the full functionality of the current TRRS (tip, ring, ring, sleeve) connector, but clearly wouldn't fit existing headphones.

The drawings indicate external contacts along the connector, which would be responsible for left and right audio, and microphone signals. The ground contact would lie on the plug’s tip.

The most notable change in the design from the current one is the shape. Apple’s idea is to have a D-shaped connector, with a flat side. This would restrict it to only being able to be inserted into D-shaped receptacles, which could include future iOS devices such as next year's iPhone 7. 

While dedicated headphones for the iPhone are already on the market - and many improve on the buds Apple supplies - these still use the standard 3.5mm connector. A change in connection would be a huge move for consumers and the headphone and accessory manufacturers.

More after the break

Apple is no stranger to tweaking with its connections, having introduced the new Lightning connection back in 2012. This change meant the latest iPhone model at the time (iPhone 5) didn't work with legacy iPod docks. Philips has previously produced the M2L headphones that use the Lightning connector, but these remove the ability to charge the device at the same time. 

The new iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus are also few millimetres thicker than their predecessors to compensate for the new 3D-Touch technology. If Apple wants to produce thinner smartphones, it could take more than just slimming down a headphone connector.

See all our Apple news and reviews

Source: Apple Insider


hamid_hifi's picture

Another reason you shouldn't

Another reason you shouldn't buy an iproduct...

Geddy76's picture

Apple reinventing the wheel once again.

Well, I assume that most headphone manufacturers will change their connectors accordingly.  After all, everyone in the whole world uses Apple products, so it's only natural.  Only joking.  I've never appreciated Apple products, they remind me of fascism, even with their propaganda style tv advertisements.

Al ears's picture

Another one?

Ho hum, that's Apple for you eh?

Following on from the Astell & Kern tiny balanced 4-pin malarky is not really the way to go.

IchiBear's picture

Milk it!

Another way to extract money from their customers. This is what has stopped me getting an iPhone. I like the new iPhone 6s Plus but I don't want to buy extra chargers.

D Holder's picture


I have not used wired headphones in a while.  As soon as they do, thirdparty headphones with the new connector will be available and people will simply buy the new types of headphones, or they will go bluetooth so they can use the same headphones with multiple devices without worrying about what type of plug.

Now the chargers... well that is a pain in the rear as it would be nice if they were the same as everyone else... but frankly I have two apple specific chargers one for my phone, one for my ipad and then one charger for all my other devices...hardly the end of the world.

Rui Dias's picture


In my opinion;

Nobody gets the sound quality and ergonomic comfort in other brands earphones at this range price. (And people say that sounds good").

Lot of people have other devices but buy Apple earphones.

The consumer is smart and Apple take advantage knowing that. I'm not saying that is a good strategy but... In the next 20 years Apple will eat more than a apple pie of the market considering that actually it is not more than a piece of that pie.

lovlid's picture

what the ???

@ Rui Dias.Nothing you have written makes sense.

magicrabbit's picture

How I hate Apple's attitude.

How I hate Apple's attitude.

Are they totally unable to stick to standard connectors (USB, 3.5, etc) or are they a kind of sect? Pathetic.


spiny norman's picture

Lightning struck off?

Wasn't there a whole load of speculation a while back that Apple was going to ditch the headphone socket altogether, and only allow headphones to be connected via the Lightning socket?

That doesn't seem to have come to anything much, so it's likely neither will this.

Oh well, it keeps the drip-drip of Apple 'news' websites going, I suppose!

garlandcary's picture

I don't listen to music on my iDevices anyway

(if I want music via headphones, I've got my Astell & Kern and Sony DAPs) so couldn't care less what Apple does with its headphone jack. Dance 4


Audio_ELF's picture

Late to this party... But

Late to this party... But from looking at the design of th connector it looks to me like the headphone jack would fit in any existing 3.5mm headphone socket, but only new headphones would fit a device (phone etc) fitted with this socket.