Gadgets

This headphone patent could piss off a lot of Apple fans

Posted by
David Cornish
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Grab your headphones. We'll wait...

Right, now see that little metal plug at the end of the lead? The evidence is mounting that Apple is about to ditch that old 3.5mm connector from its upcoming iPhones - and this is what they'll be hoping you'll buy instead.

Sure, so they look like normal headphones. But this latest patent, picked up by Apple Insider, includes significant details on how Apple intends for you to connect these cans to your iPhone: rather than going through an audio-only connection (like the existing 3.5mm jack), a cable will plug into an "electrical connector".

Here's what the patent outlines: "Wherein the electrical connector comprises: a first contact configured to receive electrical power; and a second contact configured to receive the audio data associated with the second path... wherein the headphone is configured to receive digital audio data via the electrical connector."

Now, the existing Lightning connector on newer Apple gadgets supports this kind of connection - even allowing you to pump a higher quality of music than the 3.5mm headphone jack. The patent also mentions how this arrangement would allow the headphones to draw power from an iPhone, charging up an internal battery that could then run a Bluetooth connection. 

But these headphones are fancier still: some clever tech outlined (quite vaguely) by the patent suggest that the headphones will be able to switch between a wired or wireless connection without pausing audio playback, removing the hassle of having to re-pair every time you unplug. 

Fancy, eh?

As to how much this new gadget will cost... your guess is as good as ours. But expect a potent backlash from a lot of new iPhone owners who'll need to upgrade their headphones just to listen to some Prince. 

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David Cornish

Shortlist.com’s esteemed Tech Editor. David has a keen interest in video games, Star Wars and stuff that runs on batteries.

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