Apple might not end up ditching the headphone jack later this year with the iPhone 7, but the company could still have a plan to cut down on visible ports in the long run. A freshly published patent spotted by Patently Apple reveals a clever new idea developed at Cupertino.
The document, which was filed back in 2014, describes a new type of port that’s invisible when not in use. That could give future iOS devices an even sleeker design by swapping out the Lightning port.
Apple wants to replace the Lighting port with a self-healing material that can be penetrated by a special cord. When the cord is removed the port would conceal itself again automatically. The company actually filed a similar patent already, describing a “self-healing elastomer” that would make future products water-resistant.
It’s unclear unclear if Apple’s made any progress in actually developing this technology, but it’s a fascinating idea. If the company can pull it off, this could become the new standard, replacing Lightning ports entirely across its entire product lineup.
For now, though, this is still just a patent, and we don’t expect to see any self-healing iPhones hit the market in the near future.