When pictures reportedly showing a reversible USB-to-Lightning cable appeared last weekend, many folks wondered how Apple had seemingly achieved such a useful, but obvious solution to charging-related faffing about.
Now, thanks to an Apple patent application published on Thursday, those curious observers can: a) assume it's actually real, and b) get a clearer idea of how the tech will actually work.
The patent, with the not-so-succinct title of ”Reversible USB connector with compliant member to spread stress and increase contact normal force,” details a new connector with a central tongue that sits on a flexible stork.
According to the filing, that stork will be capable of sliding up or down. In practice that means, whatever the cable’s orientation compared to the receiving USB port, Apple users should be able to plug in their iOS device will minimal fuss.
The expected launch of this fully-reversible USB cable alongside the iPhone 6 next month will continue the good work Apple began when it transitioned from the 30-pin connectivity tech to the Lightning standard, which also works regardless of the orientation.
The pending launch of this technology is enough to make anyone wonder, amidst the endless tidal wave of innovation, why something as obvious as a reversible USB cable would take this long to materialse.
Indeed, Apple’s filing explains the frustration of using the current male-to-female USB technology very well.
The company wrote: “It is sometimes difficult for users to determine when a polarised plug connector, such as a USB plug connector, is oriented in the correct orientation for insertion into a corresponding receptacle connector.
“Some USB plug and/or receptacle connectors may include markings to indicate their orientation such that users know how to properly insert a plug connector into corresponding receptacle connectors. However, these marking are not always utilised by users and/or can be confusing to some users.”
A solution to these woes now seems set to arrive within the next month or so. Better late than never.