What’s the Logic Behind Apple’s New Headphone Jack?

Apple has filed a patent for a new, slimmer headphone jack. It is very similar to the current 3.5 mm jack that we currently use to plug headphones into portable devices, with one exception: one side is shaved off. As reported by Apple Insider, this headphone jack roughly looks like a D.

Apple new headphone jack

On the surface, the reason for this is obvious. It saves a bit of space, allowing Apple to make thinner iOS devices that still accept a standard headphone jack. Unlike the conspiracy theories surrounding Apple’s use of lightning ports to connect headphones, this new jack would not be a radically different form of connecter designed to usurp the standard headphone jack.

Yet it seems foolish. It would allow headphones with this jack to work with devices with standard plugs, but you would not be able to use standard headphones in devices that have the slimmer jack. If you want to use standard headphones, you would need to use an adapter. That adapter could be a simple plug, or it could be cable a few inches long with plugs on either end.

The headphone jack in the current iPod touch is such that when I connect headphones to it, the jack is not flush with the back of the device. But on this device, the camera also sticks out a bit from the back. If Apple is planning to make an iPhone as thin as the iPod touch – 6.1 mm, compared to the iPhone 6s’s 7.1 mm – then current headphone jacks would indeed exceed the width of the device. however, Apple’s patent is designed as much to slim down the inside of the jack as well as the outside, to make devices thinner overall.

Once again, Apple is overly obsessed with thinness. I, and many iPhone users, would prefer more battery life over slimmer devices. The amount of thickness this would save doesn’t seem to make it worth preventing me from using my existing headphones. Then again, Apple may just be filing this patent preemptively, so other manufacturers don’t use this idea.