Apple patents a new kind of Lightning Cable and an iPhone superdock


This Apple dock has a hidden secret.

Have you ever cracked a Lightning connector, or — perish the thought — your iPhone itself when roughly yanking it out of a dock? Apple’s working on the problem. Cupertino’s patent department just filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a sort of super dock that will make docking your smartphone safer and easier than ever.

Patently Apple describes the new patent this way:

On August 28, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals an improved method of producing a lightning connector that has a newly defined breaking strength. This new feature will be able to protect the receptacle lightning connector and/or the electronic device from damage when a force is applied to the lightning connector. One of Apple’s patent figures specifically presents a new docking station utilizing this new feature.

What’s most interesting about this new feature, though, isn’t the superdock itself, but the flexible Lightning connector that is the real technology the whole patent hinges on. Instead of just having a flexible cable, this Lightning Connector would be flexible right down to the tip, which would certainly let it slide into an iPhone 6 more easily.

Will Apple ever make this patent a reality? It’s hard to say, although 90% of Apple’s patents never become working product. For the butterfingers out there like me, though, we can keep our fingers crossed.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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