The leaked photos and videos showing a reversible USB connector were not convincing enough because the packaging and the boxes did not show the Apple logo. New filings with the US Patent and Trademark Office show not only that Apple is working on that, but also that it has a brand new shape for the connector, something that looks like a larger Lightning port.
This new filing, revealed by the US Patent and Trademark Office, has been spotted by PatentlyApple. The 46-page document describes all the inner workings and explains how the connector can be protected from breaking when taken out of the USB port in your computer.
The filing, called "Reversible USB Connector with compliant member to spread stress and increase contact normal force," was sent to the USPTO back in February of 2013 and it lists Warren Jones, Eric SooHoo, Albert Golko and Brian Stephen Lynch as the inventors. Interestingly enough, Apple has since released two models of iPhone, but they did not incorporate this invention into their USB to Lightning cable.
The patent shows how a regular standard Type A USB receptacle connector can be used to provide reversible or dual orientation. Apple shows that, contrary to popular belief, the USB can have a 180-degree symmetrical orientation design. This will, of course, prevent potential damage for the connector itself and the user will not be as frustrated when inserting it in the computer. The problem Apple tries to solve with this is preventing damage to the thin plastic connector where the contacts are so that it will not break when inserted or forced out of the USB port.
They managed to find two different solutions to that problem. First of all, a metal casing that surrounds the plastic piece and that looks like a regular USB. The second solution is even more elegant. Apple works on a USB Connector that looks like a larger lightning port. This would make the so-called plastic "tongue" thicker, therefore it is going to be more durable even though there's no metal surrounding it.
Apple says these are not the only embodiments the cable will have. For example, their drawings may be the start of a USB Flash drive that includes a USB connector, but it does not include a cable. This means, Apple is trying to find solutions to make more durable, yet simple-looking USB drives.
Apple is expected to release such a cable with the iPhone 6. However, it will also sell it separately to be used with an iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, iPad Air and retina iPad mini.