Apple has filed a patent for a type of connector that can work with various types of devices in which the connectors may not match sizes. This could be used for various electronic devices again such as Apple's line of media players and phones.
Here is the description:
Methods and apparatus are provided for connecting together two audio components that have different size connectors and/or a different configuration of electrical contacts between them. In one embodiment of the present invention, an audio adaptor is designed having an audio plug of one size to mate with a first electrical device, such as an integrated mediaphone such as the iPhone‚Ñ¢, and an audio jack having a different size to mate with a second electrical device, such as a conventional cell phone headset having a single earpiece. In that instance, the plug would be a four-prong, 3.5 millimeter stereo device, while the jack would be a three-prong, 2.5 millimeter monaural device. The adaptor includes circuitry that takes one audio channel (i.e., the left or right channel), and couples it to the audio input on the monaural jack.
The drawings show the audio jack:
Apple has also filed a patent for a "multiconnector assembly." This looks to be nothing more than Apple's standard 30-pin connector for their iDevices. The assembly of course combines the audio jack and the charger port. It's nothing new, but it's interesting nonetheless.
Below are the description and a drawing:
The present invention can relate to multiple-connector assemblies for use in, for example, electronic devices. Each of the connectors are constrained to another connector by aligning one or more complementary sets of reference features. A locating bracket may be used to couple multiple connectors together. Alternatively, the connectors may be coupled to each other directly. The electronic device also may include a retainer coupled to the connectors (either directly or indirectly through the locating bracket). The retainer and a surface of one of the connectors may form a single plane to which an end cap of the housing may be coupled, thereby accurately locating the end cap with respect to the connectors. The present invention also can relate to methods of manufacturing such an electronic device.