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Apple Patents Cutting 3.5mm Jack in Half

Unknown Lamer posted more than 3 years ago | from the twice-as-proprietary dept.

Patents 369

An anonymous reader writes with an article on a recent patent application by Apple. From the article: "Apple likes thin devices and considers the depth of the iPod, iPhone and iPad as critical component of the aesthetic appearance of a product and has been very aggressive in finding ways to trim fat from its portable devices: The 3.5 mm audio-connector stands in the way of future design improvements: Apple suggests to simply cut it in half."

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I'm confused (5, Funny)

Minter92 (148860) | more than 3 years ago | (#37132898)

Is apple trying to patent an actual invention?

Re:I'm confused (4, Insightful)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 3 years ago | (#37132912)

Steve wants to force you to buy a $20 adapter that costs $0.03 to manufacture.

Re:I'm confused (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37132966)

just call it the iJacked your wallet

Re:I'm confused (1)

doctormetal (62102) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133266)

Yes and you need to plug in an iHeadPhone.

Re:I'm confused (3, Informative)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#37132996)

You'll note that the patent (you did RTFA right? No, silly me, of course you didn't!) specifies that current connectors would be compatible with the port, but that either it would require a magnetic system to hold the connector onto the port, or a cover would have to be installed to hold the connector on, thus eliminating the need for an adapter since current 3.5mm jacks would work with it.

Re:I'm confused (2, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133110)

Wrong. Current ports would be compatible with the new plug, but NOT the other way around.

And there's already a more standard approach to this - 2.5mm audio jacks.

Re:I'm confused (4, Informative)

CProgrammer98 (240351) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133206)

RTFA much?

You;re the one that's wrong.
" Current jacks will fit the new port design, but since the port is cut in half and exposed to one side of the device shell, a traditional connector would simply drop out: Apple proposes a magnetic interface that would keep a thin audio connector in place"

Re:I'm confused (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37133402)

Which is bullshit. Think about it - if half the connector is missing and you're using magnets to hold this in, that means that both old plugs and new plugs are going to fall out all the fucking time.

Don't forget, this is a phone. When using a head set, you're going to drop it in your pocket. It's going to get jostled. It's going to get popped out.

OK, so fine, instead they use a backing cover to clip it in so it won't fall out. Oops, that means it doesn't fit with old plugs any more, magnet or not.

Oh, well so they make the cover large enough to hold it in. Oops, now they've thrown out the size savings (well, minus the 1.75mm they apparently can remove from the contacts - which I'd swear most plugs already do), leaving them with a port that's (nearly) the exact same original size, solving nothing.

Which means either the "it works with existing plugs" is bullshit (my guess), or the "it saves space" is bullshit. You can't have both.

Re:I'm confused (4, Funny)

strength_of_10_men (967050) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133550)

...both old plugs and new plugs are going to fall out all the fucking time.

Jobs: Obviously, you're jacking it wrong

Re:I'm confused (5, Interesting)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133580)

Current jacks will fit the new port design

A "jack" is a female fitting. So is a "port".

jack noun
8 : a female fitting in an electric circuit used with a plug to make a connection with another circuit

[2]port noun
5 : a hardware interface by which a computer is connected to another device (as a printer, a mouse, or another computer); broadly : JACK 8

THEY MEAN EXACTLY THE SAME THING!!

In other words, whoever wrote that is a moron and failed to successfully explain what they meant.

I'm still not sure whether they meant that current jacks will fit the new plug design, or that current plugs will fit the new port.

Re:I'm confused (3, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133318)

You need practice in reading comprehension I feel, like every second post on this whole story. If proof were needed that almost no one at slashdot reads the articles, this story is it, with 30 people immediately posting factually incorrect information that is addressed in plain english in the article itself.

Re:I'm confused (0, Offtopic)

Frantix (1043000) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133666)

Fanboy Alert!!

Re:I'm confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37133128)

it would require a magnetic system to hold the connector onto the port, or a cover would have to be installed to hold the connector on

That's what I usually consider an adapter. Perhaps you have adapter confused with converter.

Re:I'm confused (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133244)

Those pieces (as described in the article) are part of the port - you don't need to add anything new or buy any "adapter". Let me put it this way: you can connect a 3.5mm jack without making any changes to the port.

Re:I'm confused (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133660)

Jack is Female (The Hole). The male part is a 3.5mm Plug.

Re:I'm confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37133112)

Too bad for him, I already patented that.

I also patented charging 21 dollars for it.

So there's no escaping the licensing Mr. Jobs, just ante up and Guido and Luigi Esq. won't have to pay a visit.

Re:I'm confused (2)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 3 years ago | (#37132926)

Half of one.

Re:I'm confused (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#37132980)

I think so. 1.5mm, 1.25mm, and 1mm phonojacks have been around for awhile.

Re:I'm confused (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133008)

Why not go from a 3.5mm to a 2.5mm TRS jack?

Re:I'm confused (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133082)

Because then the port would not be backwards compatible with 3.5mm plugs, which this one is.

Re:I'm confused (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133284)

No it isn't. Not without some mod to the old port to keep the connector from falling out.

The bigger issue I see is that a round plug prevents strain when the cord or plug is twisted. With this you're going to put a lever into your uber-expensive device, and either plugs will get broken off or cases will be sprung open.

So the solution should have been something like a micro-USB shape, rather than this torque multiplier.

Re:I'm confused (1)

RJHelms (1554807) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133436)

It sounds like it is going to be on the side of the case, i.e. the flat part of the jack will be exposed. You're right that it will be a lever, except that the idea is that any force applied will make it just fall out.

Re:I'm confused (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133502)

The article addresses that - it is going to be a surface mount connector, that holds the plug magnetically sort of like the current magsafe design.

The thin plug is presumably so that the overall look when it is connected will be flush, but the port will also take a standard 3.5mm plug too - it'll just stand proud of the surface, or (as also explained in the article, with a diagram no less) a 'cosmetic cap' would be fitted that covers the port. I assume that this will be part of the phone itself and work like the docking station adapters that go with the universal dock to make it compatible with the varying designs of iPod/iPhone over the years.

The primary suggestion seems to be magnets on a surface mount though.

Re:I'm confused (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133590)

So they are going to have a magnet that is powerful enough to keep a headphone cord in place without physical restraints, yet will be less than 1.75mm thick? That will be a neat trick and probably worthy of a patent.

Re:I'm confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37133018)

Ugh, now I won't be able to listen to iDevices either (with normal headphones). It's already a pain to have a second charging cord.

Why not just push the bluetoothiness?

Re:I'm confused (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133066)

Yes you will. RTFA.

Not sure if I want this (2, Insightful)

Giometrix (932993) | more than 3 years ago | (#37132928)

Won't a thinner connector make it much easier to snap off ?

Re:Not sure if I want this (5, Insightful)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | more than 3 years ago | (#37132950)

From the perspective of those who are likely to sell you the connector, that's a feature.

Re:Not sure if I want this (-1, Troll)

haruchai (17472) | more than 3 years ago | (#37132958)

Do you want to deprive $teve Job$ of revenue from the replacement of crappy......erm, highly innovative equipment?

Re:Not sure if I want this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37133078)

who's teve Job, and why is his name italicized?

Re:Not sure if I want this (2)

Intropy (2009018) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133388)

He's part of a shadowy organization including Teve Torbes, Dob Bole, Boba Fett, and Lamar Alexander #2.

Re:Not sure if I want this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37133398)

witty dude, just witty.

Re:Not sure if I want this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37133132)

Oh God...not the whole replace S with $ thing people have been doing to Microsoft for years.

Yes, Micrsoft and Apple are succesful companies that take part in capitalism and try to maximize their wealth, just like every other company out there.

Putting $'s in place of the S's is just childish and makes any argument you are making look worse.

Re:Not sure if I want this (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133084)

Yeah, it'd be more needle-like. Meaning easier to stab yourself with. Or others. Wait, maybe this is a good thing....

Re:Not sure if I want this (1)

gabebear (251933) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133292)

It looks like they are actually making it something like magsafe. It's literally half a headset jack with a magnet to hold the plug to your phone (they will also be making plugs split in half so it will be flat with the phone's case. If you stick a normal headset to the phone it will stick out a little.

More Apple-specific connectors? (1)

SiriusStarr (1196697) | more than 3 years ago | (#37132930)

Great, so this will necessitate lugging around even more adaptors for Apple products in addition to the five (exaggerating) different video port adaptors? I find it unlikely that the 3.5mm jack is the limiting factor in device thickness, so it seems a bit odd to abandon the standard...

Re:More Apple-specific connectors? (2)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133030)

Did you read the article? No? Didn't think so. The design features a method to make the port compatible with current 3.5mm plugs - either by magnetic connection, or via a "cosmetic cap" to hold the plug in place. I assume one that stretches to accommodate the full size 3.5mm plug.

Re:More Apple-specific connectors? (0)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133126)

NO. You didn't read the article.

New plugs will be compatible with old ports. (New plugs are physically smaller than the old port)

There is NO way for old plugs to be compatible with new ports. (New ports will be physically smaller than the plug.)

Re:More Apple-specific connectors? (1)

CProgrammer98 (240351) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133258)

No YOU didn't read the article. Again I Quote FTA:

" CURRENT JACKS WILL FIT THE NEW PORT DESIGN but since the port is cut in half and exposed to one side of the device shell, a traditional connector would simply drop out: Apple proposes a magnetic interface that would keep a thin audio connector in place"

Re:More Apple-specific connectors? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133280)

It seems YOU didn;t read the article. Quoted:

Current jacks will fit the new port design, but since the port is cut in half and exposed to one side of the device shell, a traditional connector would simply drop out: Apple proposes a magnetic interface that would keep a thin audio connector in place.

(emphasis mine)

Re:More Apple-specific connectors? (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133302)

Good luck on your crusade to stop anti-Apple FUD on /..

Re:More Apple-specific connectors? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133564)

Someone has to do it. I mainly do it because it then looks much funnier when claims are made of just how unbiased slashdot supposedly is when pro-Apple or anti-Google/Android articles are posted.

Comment: "This connector won't work with current headphones! Apple wants me to buy a $20 adapter!" (+5 insightful)

Article: "The connector port will very specifically be compatible with old 3.5mm jacks...."

Re:More Apple-specific connectors? (1)

AnttiV (1805624) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133314)

I suggest you might want to consider reading it again... "Current jacks will fit the new port design, but since the port is cut in half and exposed to one side of the device shell, a traditional connector would simply drop out: Apple proposes a magnetic interface that would keep a thin audio connector in place. "

Re:More Apple-specific connectors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37133400)

Reread the article, there is a way. The ports are exposed to the side of the device shell, so an old full size plug will lay in the "half port". It just won't be flush with the device shell.

Re:More Apple-specific connectors? (1)

dishpig (877882) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133404)

This is the second person you've incorrectly corrected. From TFA:

Current jacks will fit the new port design

Re:More Apple-specific connectors? (1)

dishpig (877882) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133476)

I see my pattern of beginning a comment, grabbing a coffee and then coming back to finish the comment may need some work.

Re:More Apple-specific connectors? (1)

happylight (600739) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133478)

You know this patent has actual merit when slashdotters insist that it can't be done.

Re:More Apple-specific connectors? (1)

jbezorg (1263978) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133522)

RTFA again.

"Current jacks will fit the new port design, but since the port is cut in half and exposed to one side of the device shell, a traditional connector would simply drop out:"

It's a half impression of the jack in the side of the device rather than enclosed port. Hence the need for a cover ( or case ) to enclose the impression and provide the other half of the port or a magnet to allow the jack to rest in the impression and cling to the device.

Bluetooth for me, please (1)

shadowsurfr1 (746027) | more than 3 years ago | (#37132936)

Bluetooth headphones work fine for me so I'd have no problem with a change in the headphone jacks. The hard part would be finding a case that covers it.

Re:Bluetooth for me, please (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133200)

Thanks, but no thanks. For most people, the whole point of a headset on a phone is to move the transmitter farther away from one's head. Bluetooth just replaces the cell transmitter with a different transmitter.

Re:Bluetooth for me, please (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37133338)

You replace a transmitter that is able to cover many kilometers radially, with a transmitter that maxes out at ~10 meters. That's means quite the difference in power. http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/apr2005/tc20050427_5651.htm gives the SAR for Bluetooth as 0.001 W/kg, a factor ~1000 less than a cell phone.

Re:Bluetooth for me, please (1)

Intropy (2009018) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133446)

I think the dominant use case for the headset is for people who want to use their phones without their hands. It's about convenience not proximity of a "cell transmitter" of which a Bluetooth transceiver is not even an example.

Re:Bluetooth for me, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37133556)

The Bluetooth transmitter is much, much weaker than the cell transmitter. Cordless home phones have higher-powered transmitters than Bluetooth.

blackberry 2.5mm headset jack? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37132940)

didnt the blackberry pearl basically have this?

Matchbox Prior Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37132944)

Years ago some guy had a bright idea on how to save a matchbox company lots of money. They looked at matchbox design and couldn't find a way of saving any costs. His solution was to remove one of the two ignition strips on the box. He died rich.

I'm beginning to hate Apple more and more as each day passes by mostly because Steve Jobs has this elitist simplicity gig going when he wasn't even the first. Jobs doesn't own the principles and I think it's a good idea if people learn for themselves.

Re:Matchbox Prior Art (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133340)

Make the box lid a flap rather than a slide?

Two-headed matches?

Sell re-heading kits?

Drop it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37132956)

I'm surprised they didn't just drop it altogether and use bluetooth.

Guh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37132972)

How about an audio connector with a break before make connection, where the ground connection is made first, and doesnt pop and blow speakers when you forget to turn off your ipod before plugging it into your amp?

How about involving an electrician, same for RCA plugs, and just about any analog coupling used in audio.

Seriously, whats the fucking deal with this? This has been a problem since the 50s!

Also I'd have expected to see digital headphones with a 15 cent dsp in the earbud by now. Not from apple, of course, they only deal in substandard hardware.

Re:Guh (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133212)

How about an audio connector with a break before make connection, where the ground connection is made first, and doesnt pop and blow speakers when you forget to turn off your ipod before plugging it into your amp?

Umm, have you ever used an XLR plug and socket? If you connect the earth to the chassis ground/shield of the XLR connector, the earth is met before the hot and cold pins are engaged.

Re:Guh (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133530)

...but good luck getting an XLR interface into anything you can comfortably fit in your back pocket :D

Really though; Apple's already using a 4-contact interface in their 3.5" connector, and they're famous for championing new tech. Why not just go optical, or create a new interface that grounds first, provides resistance, and uses a slap-on interface instead of plug-in? I'm sure it would become popular quickly, and they could sell $85 adapters as well!

Re:Guh (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133682)

Pin 1 and the shield are often not tied on the cables you buy at the store, so ground just gets connected at the same time as everything else -- typically the connector on equipment is tied to chassis ground and pin 1 is audio ground, so if you tie them together in the cable you'll get weird noise from whatever is creating interference on the chassis's ground rail (and whatever that ground rail finally dumps to, like the power receptacle ground pin, which if your house has a wiring fault will be blasting 60Hz.) Even better some equipment will tie chassis ground to audio ground through some filtering, so if the shield and pin 1 are tied on your cable you have instant ground loop. Many times wiring in a studio will lift the ground on one side of the connection, and the shield will be unconnected, to prevent ground loops in the patchbay. And we're not even getting into the pin 2/pin 3 hot controversy, which seems like it should be solved but you still run into pin 3 equipment. XLRs are funny.

You're not supposed to plug any audio connection when signal is present, yeah everybody does it but not many connection systems are spec'd to handle it properly, including XLR. Even if you tie the shield to the ground, there are bias and other signals (like phantom powering) that will eventually wear down the internal electronics if you plug them in energized.

Not what I was expecting from the summary (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37132992)

My first thought was changing to a 1.75mm connector, not taking a 3.5mm connector and literally cutting it in half. If Apple really expects people to buy all new headphones for their portable devices, why not just push for Bluetooth or some other wireless audio delivery?

Re:Not what I was expecting from the summary (0)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133108)

No, the port works with existing 3.5mm headphones - you didn't read the article very well, did you?

Re:Not what I was expecting from the summary (2)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133390)

It was kind of hard to do given that they used the term "jack" to mean "plug" and the term "port" to mean "jack" or "receptacle"....

BTW, has anyone ever actually seen an audio plug (other than the old telephone switchboard plugs from the early-to-mid-1900s) that contained any significant amount of ferrous metal? I'd be curious to know how someone could think that standard audio plugs can be held in place by a magnet. I'm assuming, based on the fact that the person who wrote this story got basic terminology wrong, that the author also misunderstood that aspect of the patent....

Why not 100% wireless? (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133002)

Wireless devices ought to be wireless. They already have several radios, including Bluetooth. Headphones and docking should be wireless. So should charging. which should be inductive. Then you can have a sealed, waterproof unit with no annoying connector holes.

I'm surprised Apple hasn't already gone that way on aesthetic grounds. Why should those perfect forms have holes in them?

Re:Why not 100% wireless? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37133290)

Steve Jobs has holes in him you insensitive clod!

Re:Why not 100% wireless? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37133358)

Why should those perfect forms have holes in them?

So tempted.

Re:Why not 100% wireless? (1)

Intropy (2009018) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133468)

Giggity

Keyed Phono Plug. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37133554)

Wouldn't it be cool if it had a FM Transmitter in the device that you can sit next to your stereo to play loud or just strap Job's device onto your micro FM receiver to listen on your choice of audio equipment?

NEVER! NO! YOU MUST BUY THIS TO LISTEN!

Will this header be available in a consumer electrical components store --- NO!

Can we get away with some injection moulding process to make our own receivers for this keyed plug --- NO!

We'll sue yuh!

Bow to the LSD addicts' mascot, the decapitated puppy.

Re:Why not 100% wireless? (1)

pimpsoftcom (877143) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133570)

Women have holes in them and I use them for their functional biological use - sex - just fine.

Re:Why not 100% wireless? (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133594)

I'm surprised Apple hasn't already gone that way on aesthetic grounds. Why should those perfect forms have holes in them?

Does solid state hardware need the regular venting for altitude change? I'd think it would with an LCD behind glass... otherwise, you'll eventually get an im/explosion in the LCD and a cracked screen. You'll also need some way of reading air pressure (think microphone). The speaker issue could be got around via using the shell itself.

I want to patent patenting useless variations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37133004)

I want to write a patent about taking a perfectly good standard, making a useless variation on the original that is patented to keep anyone else from making anything that connects to your device.

As an added benefit (0)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133028)

They get to collect license payments for anyone who uses this jack. Open standards? What's that?

Re:As an added benefit (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133090)

Or alternatively, they could either not license it at all or license out the male (connector) but but not the female (port), making headphones for Apple products only work with Apple products.

Re:As an added benefit (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133136)

The port is backwards compatible with existing 3.5mm plugs, so if it remains "licensed" (and there is no indication that it will be - compare to mini-displayport), then it will simply remain on Apple devices only.

Jerks. (5, Funny)

Nationless (2123580) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133062)

Great.

After only recently being able to plug in most phones with the same USB cable and FINALLY having 3.5 jacks a standard on said phones, Apple now wants to go fuck with the standards.

Jerks.

Re:Jerks. (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133662)

Personally, I don't mind screwing with standards now and then, as long as the result is a new standard. Given the age of the current 3.5mm jack, I wouldn't be surprised if they could come up with something that was more compact and generally superior. If you got all the manufacturers onboard, it could be good.

Of course, that never seems to be what happens these days. Apple comes up with a standard, and then Sony doesn't like the idea of a standard existing without them collecting patent licensing fees, so they'll need to create a competing standard. Then someone else will come up with a third, and right when it seems like it's starting to settle out, someone will develop a new iteration of the technology and we'll be back where we started.

Rotated (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37133098)

The whole point of the jack connector is that it can rotate. Using a semicircle destroys this ability and any rotation will break something.

It would be better to use a flat multipin connector.

Please no... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37133102)

Of all the things we don't need modified is the audio connector. Right now, we have two types that work well, the 1/4" jack for pro equipment, and the 3.5mm jack for everything else. The 2.5mm jack is pretty much not around anymore which is good.

Of course, cutting a plug in half is good for Apple. Same reason the 30 pin connector is also good. It forces accessory makers to do it Apple's way which other people cannot duplicate due to patents. Already, almost all docking stations out there sport an Apple 30 pin plug. With this "invention", it just means that accessory makers either make their stuff for only Apple products, or not make for Apple at all.

Isn't the EU breathing down Apple's neck for them refusing to heed to the single USB connector style? Now Apple wants to fragment and make earphone makers either choose Apple's way or the highway.

Oh well, guess everyone will need a $20 half moon to full round adapter so they can use a $3 pair of earbuds with their non-Apple branded stuff.

Obvious? (1)

AftanGustur (7715) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133170)

Give this problem to any group of 10 geeks and one of them is bound to suggest this solution.

The Patent system needs to be reformed.

Re:Obvious? (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133406)

The other nine will instead suggest to get off your fetish of ultrathin devices and just make the device thick enough for a normal plug. It's not as if that would be very thick anyway.

Re:Obvious? (1)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133420)

Give this problem to any group of 10 geeks and one of them is bound to suggest this solution.

But none of them have yet, hence the innovation.

Your argument could be applied to anything ever invented. Once you know the answer, the question is easier.

So the lightbulb was invented - no big deal, right? If you would have asked a group engineers of the day to create a device for generating light from electricity, one of them would have probably come up with something similar. That does not mean it was not innovative. Why? Because you did not know to ask the question, and they had not not thought of the answer.

The Patent system needs to be reformed.

Agreed, but not because of your simpleton logic.

Re:Obvious? (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133506)

In the business, we call that an ex post facto view. People screaming "Oh, I could have done it" after some invention is disclosed are about as witty as people screaming "I could have made that" when looking at a piece of modern art. Well, the key point is, you haven't and no one else has either.

Re:Obvious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37133654)

Because it is a solution looking for a problem.

Re:Obvious? (1)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133656)

And now they CAN'T thanks to patents.

TRS Connectors Suck (1)

Vegemeister (1259976) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133184)

It is easily recognized that a 3.5mm TRS jack eats a substantial fraction of the internal volume budget in a modern phone or portable media player. It is thus understandable that Apple would want to replace it with something smaller. However, basing it on the current standard is perhaps the worst possible way to go about it. The standard 3.5mm headphone connector shorts the contacts on the plug to the wrong contacts on the jack all willy nilly. Given the opportunity to push a new design, they should go for a modern connector that mates the grounds first, and allows the signal contacts to mate only to their proper counterparts.

And don't try to tell me it's for backwards compatibility. The patented design allows semi-TRS plugs to mate with standard jacks, but does not permit the connection of standard headphones to the Apple design--what people will actually want to do, given the poor quality of the usual bundled earbuds.

The Worst is ignoring what is (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133444)

However, basing it on the current standard is perhaps the worst possible way to go about it.

Only if you do not care about cutting out hundreds of millions of existing (some very expensive) headphones.

Re:TRS Connectors Suck (2)

compro01 (777531) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133450)

The patented design allows semi-TRS plugs to mate with standard jacks, but does not permit the connection of standard headphones to the Apple design--what people will actually want to do, given the poor quality of the usual bundled earbuds.

From my reading, a full male would work with this (the female end is basically like a trench or ditch on the outside of the device), just half of the connector would be sticking out and held in place al a magsafe, but a semi male probably wouldn't work with a full female, as nothing would hold it in contact.

Great ! An even thinner device (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133202)

With a smaller battery :(

Apple To Cut Audio Jacks In Half (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37133294)

Interesting I just applied for a patent to remove the jack completely I call it 'microquiet audio' due to the fact it passes no audio.
Oops did I give away my proprietary idea before my patent was approved!!!
never mind, please forget I said anyhing.

-PSH

Helps you insert it the right way round (5, Funny)

ljw1004 (764174) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133352)

Another advantage which they omitted from the article -- this invention will help you insert the plug the right way round.

With the current circular 3.5mm jacks, it's actually impossible to know whether you've rotated the plug correctly. Sure, you can try to figure out if you've got it right by listening to the resultant sound quality, but that's inexact and most people don't even have the equipment. Now with Apple's invention, everyone will be able to insert it with the right rotation -- first time, and every time.

Re:Helps you insert it the right way round (2)

jovius (974690) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133632)

Exactly. It's great that Apple sells a device called iPolarizer to find the exact position. It works by aligning the electromagnetic fields of the connector and the plug to the same plane of reference. The effect lasts for a few weeks until you need to polarize the connectors again. There's also an app to visualize the process.

Re:Helps you insert it the right way round (1)

Intropy (2009018) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133670)

I'm in recruiting at Monster Cable Products Inc. We should talk. - no, not really

Jobs is inventing a Keyed Phono Plug. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37133374)

Great, as if the potential fragility of a 2.5mm and 3.5mm phono plug wasn't enough, he effectively is puting teeth on a phono plug that only fit on his devices.

I've said it once and I'll say it again, these corporations embraced homebrew computer-club standards early, and intentionally silenced them after saturating the market with all the slave-made foreign Chinese products. The more I see "AID" and "economy stimulus" jobs is when I run away screaming, no different than how this phono plug is doing to prior open standards. Shit like this is why Radio Shack is a store with useless inventory of electrical components and an expansive inventory of consumer foreign-made communications equipment.

Jobs could have invented a shortrange FM transmitter into that small device so people can listen on their sterio equipment tuned to that FM frequency, and we could listen on our choice of audio equipment like what a Jupiter Jack or Belkin FM TX could achieve, but no...we get another wired device. They could've used a USB audio-port solution, but no. Not even an only Bluetooth solution, but no. How about a streaming WIFI audio server, but no.

More butchery to come, say goodbye to your listening faculties, because now you will be unable to listen to anything without a chip in your ear.

Why not just use the power/usb connector? (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133512)

They could eliminate a connector and sell REALLY expensive and proprietary headsets, too. Win! Win! for Apple.

Re:Why not just use the power/usb connector? (1)

Vrtigo1 (1303147) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133668)

Why not just use WiFi/Bluetooth or some other type of PAN? I've got AirPlay at home and don't have to plug my phone in to play music from it, so why hasn't Apple been beating automakers to death to get them to include it in their vehicles? I think that would be a huge selling point for Apple - if the car is only compatible with AirPlay, that'll make people think twice before buying an Android phone.

Strength (1)

m0s3m8n (1335861) | more than 3 years ago | (#37133602)

I would be worried about the plug strength. let alone there being 1/2 the material, by cutting it in half, it will far easier to bend it on the flat side.

If this is a problem for you, do what I do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37133618)

Avoid all iCrap like the plague!!!

If Jack is only 3.5mm tall ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37133636)

... someone call Guinness Book Of World Records!

I don't care how small Jack is you shouldn't cut him in half!!!

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