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back to article iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks

Apple is working on a new reversible USB plug for its next iPhone's charger cable, it's rumored. Australian blogger and iLeak specialist Sonny Dickson has published a photo of what he says will be the charging cable for Apple's forthcoming flagship smartphone, the iPhone 6. The snap shows what appears to be a standard USB plug …

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Gasp. Reinventing something that didn't need changing. Wow...

There are downsides to having ridiculous amounts of money in the bank. USB works for the rest of the world.

iPhone 7 - Coming next year with USB 3.1 capability. It's revolutionary.

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You've never used a USB Type-A cable have you?

I gather you've never actually plugged in a USB cable or else you would know the tyranny as outlined in many comics such as the one below.

The Tyranny of the USB Type-A connector

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Re: You've never used a USB Type-A cable have you?

I don't want to come across all shouting "luxury!", but have you ever tried to plug in a PS/2 plug? or an older DIN6?

USB has (unless you try to put it in sideways or a tall plug into a wide socket) 2 ways of plugging in; sunny side up or down... you don't even really have to do much looking and aligning.. if it doesn't go in you just flip it over and boom - connected.

What really annoys me is that I have probably spent more time reading about this new reversable USB malackey than I have spent flipping USB plugs over.

Which means that so far; reversible USB plugs have wasted more of my time than non-reversible ones have :(

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Anonymous Coward

Fake?

Doesn't look like that would work either way round, since the connector part of the standard USB plug occupies 50% of the plug..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Fake?

My best guess is that the new plug is the same outside dimensions, but the center plastic part is supposed to move up or down when it's inserted. This is a fairly clever idea since it would work with existing USB ports, though I'd be concerned about the middle part breaking off (which probably isn't a concern of apple's, since they'd just sell more $20 cables).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Fake?

Hmmm, seems like this already exists:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812228801

I hope they filed for a patent, because Apple appears to have (and prior art has never stopped Apple from litigating in the past):

http://pdfaiw.uspto.gov/.aiw?docid=20140206209

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Re: Fake?

I have not seen the Tripp Lite cables before, but I see they have a load of them available now, and they do look just like the new amazing coming soon apple cable.

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Re: Fake?

How dare they steal Apple's revolutionary new idea and put it on sale before Apple even came up with it!

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Re: Fake?

True, but that's not what the story _describes_. The picture shows two USB ends for comparison, but the story says one end is this new reversible USB plug while the other end is Thunderbolt (how else would it connect to an iThingy?). So what's new here is a Thunderbolt->USB cable that's reversible. Apparently, anyway -- I haven't searched for an existing one.

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Hairy rounds....

Fake.

Show me a USB port that fat fecker would fit in !

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Anonymous Coward

I think this is a made up story

Sorry, but things don't seem to add up here.

1 - The picture is showing a connector that is definitely not of production standard. Mechanically it's too shabby for words.

2 - Apple already HAS a better USB design (the symmetric plug that goes into current iPads and iPhone 5) so it would make no sense to adopt a bigger design that is physically much more challenging to get into a device.

3 - The new USB/C plug is not something that has been developed in isolation, Apple certainly knew it was coming (as a hardware supplier it will have been kept up to date and may even had a say in its design), it makes no sense for them to choose a different route.

I don't buy this one.

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Pint

Re: I think this is a made up story

Agreed. It's *obviously* a fake.

Apple would have put a solar powered vision system and a motor to spin the connector into correct alignment as the user moves it towards the socket.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I think this is a made up story

Apple would have put a solar powered vision system and a motor to spin the connector into correct alignment as the user moves it towards the socket.

Apple tends to apply its ability to simplify also to the mechanics - the Macbook unibody is a good example of that. If you want complicated, talk to Microsoft :)

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Pint

Re: I think this is a made up story

AC: "Apple tends to apply its ability to simplify..."

So you missed that whole thing about putting a microchip into the tiny 'Lightning' connector?

Try to keep up.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I think this is a made up story

So you missed that whole thing about putting a microchip into the tiny 'Lightning' connector?

Ah, so knowing that has seriously impaired your ability to plug it in? You better avoid reading about your own anatomy then..

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I would expect micro-USB if anything unless Apple expect this phone to be outdated by 2017.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/03/17/europe_approves_common_charger_standard_for_mobemakers/

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Hoping for sanity

At least one would hope the EU is smart enough to standardize on the new USB plug, and not the outdated by 2017 micro USB.

Still think the USB forum screwed the pooch on the new design by not putting the "tongue" of the connector on the cable, but rather on the device, thus guaranteeing that if mechanical stress causes it to break the device becomes useless, instead of only ruining an easily replaced cable!

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Pint

Re: Hoping for sanity

You mean like the USB socket in my kid's laptop? The broken one soldered straight to the motherboard.

Oh well, nothing that can't be fixed after three glasses of red wine.

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Def
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You don't think, perhaps, the micro-USB connector would be on the other end of the cable?

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Re: Hoping for sanity

Still think the USB forum screwed the pooch on the new design by not putting the "tongue" of the connector on the cable, but rather on the device, thus guaranteeing that if mechanical stress causes it to break the device becomes useless, instead of only ruining an easily replaced cable!

Never heard of built-in obsolescence? Imagine what would happen to the industry if everything was designed so well you only had to replace something because the old stuff had worn out. Once upon a time, lightbulbs used to last upwards of 10000 hours, until the Phoebus cartel agreement actively penalised manufacturers if test bulb lifetime actually exceeded 1000 hours (1/10th of the original life span). Much money was made by all, and since then this is pretty much a default - unless you pay a lot more.

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Actually, Apple want this phone to be outdated by next year at the latest, and everyone to throw them away and run out to buy the 6S or whatever.

And why would Apple use a standard cable, when they can use their proprietary one and charge their customers much more?

I would say there is NO CHANCE Apple will ever use micro-USB.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hoping for sanity

Do you have a source for that 10000 hour figure?

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Re: 10,000 hours

Longest serving light bulb in the world currently approaching 1,000,000 hours ("at least" 110 years).

I don't think 10,000 hours is a stretch.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 10,000 hours

And it's dimmer than a candle. You can make a lightbulb that lasts for longer than that if you don't mind that it gives out almost no light at all and uses more electricity than 50 'ordinary' bulbs.

While there's no arguing that the cartel did exist, and they did set the target lifespan for lightbulbs to 1000 hours, there's no evidence that I'm aware of that bulbs with a lifespan much greater than 1000 hours with the same level of efficiency were actually possible. Older bulbs had achieved longer lifespans but they either produced less light or had a higher wattage. The cartel argued that they were just setting a standard for the light level and power consumption so that consumers knew what to expect and there's some truth to that.

If such bulbs had been possible then why would the industry have sat on the technology when governments declared bulbs lasting just 100 hours to be inefficient and outlawed them? They could have unveiled their 'new longer lasting bulbs' and kept their racquet going for a few years longer. Instead they lost control of the market to a thousand upstarts selling 'energy efficient' lighbulbs.

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Pint

Re: Hoping for sanity

@FF

Implicit in your post is a false assumption. You assume that very long life incandescent lightbulbs would be A Very Good Thing™. Unfortunately, any wider view, including some very basic but essential background knowledge about filament temperature and illumination efficiency, reveals that very long life incandescent lightbulbs would NOT be A Very Good Thing™. They'd be a tremendous waste of resources, except arguably in some very limited circumstances where changing the lightbulb might be exceedingly difficult (e.g. top of a tower).

Perhaps, and this is speculation, perhaps the cartel was simply agreeing not to compete in the light bulb lifespan space, knowing that it would end badly in terms of The Greater Good™.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hoping for sanity

Do you have a source for that 10000 hour figure?

Here: the men who made us spend, produced for the BBC.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: the men who made us spend

There's no mention of 10,000 hours in that programme. They state that bulbs before the cartel imposed a 1,000 hour limit might last up to 2,500 hours (a quarter of the claimed 10,000). Importantly "bulbs that lasted longer burned less brightly .... compromise between these two factors, durability and efficiency".

This is backed by the physics of a light bulb, especially with the limits of technology in the 1920s when the cartel operated. The addition of halogen to bulbs more recently allowed the lifetime of bulbs to be increased but not to 10,000 hours. For bulbs that last that long you need LEDs etc.

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This post has been deleted by its author

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Flame

Sanity

Just mark clearly what is up and what is down (left/right), I hate glasses, somehow I think the damned plug in insane from the beginning.

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Boffin

Re: Sanity

Mostly they do. Pretty much every cable I have has the "USB" marking on the top. This isn't perfect, there are some very few odd-ball PCs with the USB ports upside-down, and some PCs live on their sides, but it's a good enough rule of thumb to get the insertion right first time 98% of the time.

GJC

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erm...

Why does it look to be 50% larger than the standard A socket it's next to in the image - thus rendering it unable to actually fit in any USB socket (orientation regardless).

Maybe it's just an odd camera angle, maybe this is baloney - given it's an iThing (TM) rumour, I'd lean towards the latter..

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Anonymous Coward

The bigger question, why did the USB SIG have to invent a new connector to accomplish the same thing, at least on the legacy large connector? It just seems to me that USB is always behind; they were behind in speed and still behind in power availability. Almost 20 years later and it still have flaws that have yet to be fixed.

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How does it fit?

I can't see (from the photo anyway) how the two plugs can mate - regardless as to which way round the attempt is made.

The tongue in the centre of the new plug has to have a finite thickness which means that it will always bang up against the fixed part of the the receiving socket - unless of course there is a chamfer (not obvious) which then causes the tongue to bend the correct way - moving its contacts away from the mating contacts in the receptacle.

If it works then brilliant, but...

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here are the patents

Tripp Lite patent: http://www.google.com/patents/US7094086

Apple patent: http://1.usa.gov/1sQGcQ1

A quick read (could be mistaken) seems to show a difference in the Tripp Lite one having the tongue slide ether way, while the Apple one is about materials that allow it to flex to either side while maintaining contact.

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Re: here are the patents

I was about to decry this new connector as dodgy Chinese tat, but it seems Apple do actually have a patent on the design.

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Strictly

Strictly speaking, there ought to be three tongues in the plug. A central one a quarter of the slot width thick, with contacts on both sides, and two outer ones also a quarter of the slot width thick, which are capable of sliding back. On insertion, the tongue in the socket pushes one of the outer tongues back, while the other supports the centre tongue so that it doesn't bend down like a diving board. Complicated.

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Bronze badge
Devil

Just what the world needs

Another incompatible standard from Apple.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Just what the world needs

Standards? Who needs standards ? We are the standard.

Your faithfully

Apple Inc.

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Re: Just what the world needs

Yes, damn Apple and their USB plugs that fit into USB sockets. What's wrong with PS/2?

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Anonymous Coward

A new lightning cable then ?

So they F**ked the existing Lightning cable as a solution to the F**ked Up Lightning cable problem?

Not exactly a shocking Thunderbolt from the skies this one, is it?

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Re: A new lightning cable then ?

Thunderbolt and Lightning - very very frightening !

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Re: A new lightning cable then ?

So the next connector will be called Galileo then?

:)

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Optical illusion?

Taking the highly technical route of holding a ruler up against the picture, the dimensions of the two plugs look roughly the same that the plug on the right looks not to be fake, but real.

As for Apple expecting the phone to be obsolete by 2017 ... I would have put that to be a bit optimistic given what they did with the iPod battery a few years ago. What was that ... 18 months and then the device dies?

There was a TV program on a while ago, "The men who made us spend" and talked about built in obsolescence; among them printer carts that stop working even though there is plenty of toner still in them. If they can't do it with the device, then why not do it with the connector! After all, I've still got monitoring equipment that needs a serial connector ... and only a few laptops have them these days. Becoming rarer on the bog standard chuck-cheap-out-the-door types of PC's as well.

Call me cynical, but these days I wouldn't put anything ... past anyone ... especially those with a track record in obsolescence.

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Anonymous Coward

Apple and USB? May be instructive to remember the key role Apple played in the uptake of USB. Everyone was backing FireWire as the new connectivity standard until Apple decided it deserved something like $2 royalties per port where everyone else thought 50¢ per device was nearer the mark. Apple (or probably Jobs) dug in so everyone else looked around and decided that the slower USB 1.0 standard might work as an alternative.

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Would that be the same Apple that was first to ship a computer completely free of legacy ports, creating the first third-party market for USB peripherals?

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Anonymous Coward

The IEEE 1394 royalty has always been 25¢ (since 1999). At the time USB and FireWire were not direct competitors, USB was used largely for input devices, and FireWire was applied to applications where SCSI was predominant.

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Anonymous Coward

G'Day Cobbers!

Doesn't surprise me that this news came from an Aussie blogger. The "reversible" design is intended to save Apple money on having to manufacture separate leads for the Australian market by creating one that can be plugged in either the right way up or upside down.

Mine's the one with the cork hat and the bad Crocodile Dundee impersonation.

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That's not a cork.

This is a cork.

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Re: That's not a cork.

There's a joke I can see coming. "I saw an iPhone once, years ago." Turns it on and looks at interface. "Yeah, same thing was on."

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JDX
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FFS

If it's possible to make a USB plug that is reversible and fits the standard socket, WHY THE BLOODY HELL ISN'T EVERYONE ALREADY DOING IT!!!!!?

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