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Apple invents amazing hybrid Bluetooth-wired headphones

by Jacob Kleinman | April 21, 2016April 21, 2016 9:30 am PST

The iPhone 7 is expected to ship without a traditional headphone jack, but it’s unclear how the company will compensate for the change. We could get a set of wireless Bluetooth EarPods or a version that plugs into the Lightning port. Now a new patent suggests Apple may offer both solutions in one clever package.

A newly published patent, which Apple submitted in 2014, details possible plans for a set of headphones with both Bluetooth capabilities and a cable for connecting directly to your device. Similar products already exist, but Apple’s version comes with a few clever improvements.

First of all, the audio cord actually doubles as a charging cable. So, if your headphones run out of battery, you can connect them to your iPhone and keep listening while they recharge. However, Apple doesn’t mention how this might affect your smartphone’s battery life. It obviously will, though probably not too significantly.

Apple also focuses on making the transition from Bluetooth to wires as seamless as possible. The headphones store a few seconds of audio ahead of where you’re listening so it can keep playing while you switch. Finally, the company mentions some sort of extra software that would make the Bluetooth connection happen even quicker than normal.

The patent is missing a few key details, but it’s intriguing. Assuming Apple can actually pull this off, we may not have any reason to complain if the iPhone 7 arrives without a headphone jack later this year.


Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...