Apple’s obsession with thinness is well-known, but its latest patents might be one of the company’s most interesting pursuits of that obsession yet: they describe Apple’s attempts to make an iPod thinner than the headphone jack you have to plug into it.
The patents describe various ways to make this idea work. For example, one patent describes an audio socket that’s less than fully circular, allowing a portion of the jack to actually protrude from the socket. Another mention a flexible material covering the opening of a semi-circular socket that would expand when a jack was inserted. The last method uses a hinged housing, or two doors that swing open, when a jack is inserted.
This isn’t the first patent we’ve seen from Apple for smaller audio jacks. In September of last year, we reported on an apple patent that used deflectable pogo pins instead of cantilever beams inside of a headphone socket, making it even smaller. At the time, we lamented that Apple’s efforts in miniaturizing the headphone socket were necessarily limited by the size of the headphone jack itself… but it looks like Apple’s figured out a way around even that.