The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published an Apple patent today that describes a hybrid analog/digital stereo headphone system capable of switching seamlessly between wired and wireless audio modes (via AppleInsider).

The patent for "Audio class-compliant charging accessories for wireless headphones and headsets" distinguishes the system from traditional headphones by its use of an electrical connector capable of transmitting both digital and analog signals, which would make it compatible with Apple's proprietary Lightning connector protocol.

Hybrid wired wireless headphones patent
The wired contacts in the connector utilize "differential signaling" that enable it to transfer power and audio data through a single cable without compromising sound quality, while the wireless component of the headphones comprises an internal battery, processor, memory, and antenna for communicating with a source device such as an iPhone.

Design details are sparse, but the patent notes that the hardware would fit into in-ear, on-ear and over-ear styles of headphones.

As with all Apple patents, the usual caveat applies in that the invention may not see the light of day in any future product. That said, the system it describes is consistent with rumors that Apple plans to ditch the headphone jack for the fall 2016 iPhone 7 in favor of a Lightning-equipped headphone accessory or Bluetooth-based wireless listening solution similar to the Bragi Dash headphones.

Tag: Patent

Top Rated Comments

sshambles Avatar
82 months ago
This really doesn't bother me, really if anything no headphone jack is fine. Evolution was going to remove it eventually. A Lightning one is fine, or USB-C which replaces Lightning charger. My next headphone purchase is a Bluetooth set anyhow (Master&Dynamic MW60).
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dannyyankou Avatar
82 months ago
Just a few weeks ago I thought it would be great if there was a pair of wireless headphones that you can plug in. I should've patented it.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Pro Purple Rear Flat MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro Predicted to Start With Increased 256GB Storage Alongside Rumored Price Increase

Wednesday August 10, 2022 11:14 am PDT by
Earlier today, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed iPhone 14 Pro models will be more expensive than iPhone 13 Pro models. Kuo did not reveal exact pricing, but he said that the average selling price of all four iPhone 14 models will increase by about 15% overall. While higher prices would be disappointing for customers, it is possible the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max will offer increased...
iOS 16 battery percentage

Apple Limiting iOS 16 Beta 5 Battery Percentage Display to Select iPhones: Here Are the Supported Devices

Tuesday August 9, 2022 2:51 am PDT by
Apple this week brought back one of the most highly requested features from iOS users since the launch of the iPhone X in 2017: the ability to see your battery percentage directly in the status bar. Ever since the launch of the iPhone X with the notch, Apple has not allowed users to show their battery percentage directly in the status bar, forcing them to swipe down into Control Center to...
iPhone 14 Pro Lineup Feature Silver

Kuo: Apple to Increase Prices of iPhone 14 Pro Models

Wednesday August 10, 2022 8:22 am PDT by
Apple plans to increase the prices of iPhone 14 Pro models compared to iPhone 13 Pro models, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo did not reveal exact pricing for the iPhone 14 Pro models. However, in a tweet today, he estimated that the average selling price of the iPhone 14 lineup as a whole will increase by about 15% compared to the iPhone 13 lineup. In the United States, the iPhone...
ios 16 beta 5 battery percent

iOS 16 Beta 5: Battery Percentage Now Displayed in iPhone Status Bar

Monday August 8, 2022 10:43 am PDT by
With the fifth beta of iOS 16, Apple has updated the battery icon on iPhones with Face ID to display the specific battery percentage rather than just a visual representation of battery level. The new battery indicator is available on iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models, with the exception of the 5.4-inch iPhone 12/13 mini. It is also available on the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, XS and XS Max, and...
battery percentage ios 16

Here's Why the iPhone Battery Status Icon in iOS 16 Is So Controversial

Wednesday August 10, 2022 4:34 am PDT by
In the latest iOS 16 beta, Apple has updated the status bar battery icon on iPhones with Face ID to display the exact percentage remaining rather than just a visual representation of battery level, and while the change has been largely welcomed, some users are unhappy with the way it has been implemented. In iOS 15 and earlier, battery percent has not been present on iPhones that have...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Front and Back MacRumors Exclusive feature

iPhone 14 Is Just a Few Weeks Away: Three Tips to Prepare for the New iPhone

Wednesday August 10, 2022 4:08 am PDT by
The launch of the new iPhone 14 is just a few weeks away, meaning millions of iPhone customers will soon upgrade their existing iPhone or perhaps get an iPhone for the first time. Exclusive MacRumors iPhone 14 Pro renders by graphic designer Ian Zelbo Whether upgrading from an older model or this is your first iPhone, we've rounded up a few tips to help you prepare for the next flagship...
iPhone 14 Lineup Feature Purple

Color Options for All iPhone 14 Models: Everything We Know

Monday August 8, 2022 3:59 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models are rumored to be available in a refreshed range of color options, including an all-new purple color. Most expectations about the iPhone 14 lineup's color options come from an unverified post on Chinese social media site Weibo earlier this year. Overall, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro's selection of color options could look fairly similar to those of the ...