In advance of the next-gen iPhone, which will reportedly ditch its 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of wireless or Lightning EarPods, Apple had filed a patent application for hybrid headphones capable of switching between wired and wireless options without dropping audio in the process.
Described as “Audio class-compliant charging accessories for wireless headphones and headsets,” the headphones would solve one of the big problems with existing Bluetooth headphones which support both wired and wireless use — namely the dropout in playback which occurs when you go from one mode to the other, as happens when you plug in wireless headphones that are running short on battery.
To get around this, Apple suggests that a data buffer could be built into the headphones, which would continue to play audio for the time it takes to switch from wired to wireless options.
The patent also notes that a charging cable could be used to provide both audio and power, so that the headphones can be charged from your iPhone as you listen.
We’re going to have to wait until fall to see if Apple really does ditch the 3.5mm jack — although all signs are pointing that way. However, it does seem that Apple’s looking to give us some pretty cool tech to sell us on the benefits of this change when it does take place.