It’s been rumored for months now that, in an attempt to make its flagship device even thinner, Apple was experimenting with ways to remove the bulky, space-eating headphone jack from the bottom of its next iPhone. Well, a filing that was approved this week for Apple by the United States Patent and Trademark Office just added some more oil to that burning pile of speculation.
The new patent, which was granted by the USPTO on Tuesday, is for headphones that can connect to a mobile device—in this case, the iPhone—through both a hardwired connection and wirelessly. According to the design, pictured below, the EarPods can be used without being plugged in, but they include a magnetic connector that allows the hardwired portion of the headphones to be connected and plugged into a jack.
The filing falls in line with the rumors that Apple could ship their iPhone 7 without a headphone jack, but also allows for the fact that not every music-playing device comes with Bluetooth, thus the need for a wired connection still exists. That need, presumably, is what led Apple to develop this hybrid concept that allows the EarPods to be both truly wireless while also offering a wired solution.