Reversible USB plugs have come under discussion quite a few times over the past couple of weeks. We know that work on a solution is underway and recently it was rumored that perhaps Apple has made one as well. Pictures of a supposed reversible USB plug from Apple were posted online recently and a newly published patent application from the company does hint that Apple has thought about this at some point.
A USB plug can only be plugged into a USB port in a certain way right now. It has to line up perfectly which can make it hard to plug in a USB in hard to reach places or places where the lighting is not adequate. A reversible plug would mean that there would essentially be no “right” way of plugging it in, so there will be no need to line up the plug to the port precisely.
Apple’s patent was published today and is titled “Reversible USB Connector with Compliant Member to Spread Stress and Increase Contact Normal Force.” In it a standard size USB “Type-A” male plug is detailed which can be plugged into a port in either direction.
The filing does say that existing USB plugs can cause user frustration when incorrectly inserted into a “corresponding receptacle connector.” The company points out that its design for a plug with a “double orientation design” will limit the chances of damage to the connector as well as frustration for the user.
On the other hand the USB Compliance Committee is working on a new Type-C connector which is going to be reversible, but it will have a new form factor, which is different from the Type-A standard mentioned in Apple’s patent.