Apple’s charging cables aren’t exactly known for their durability. They often fray after a year or two and can even break down to the point where they won’t charge your device at all. Apple might have the answer to that common problem.
The patent, first reported by AppleInsider, describes some different ideas for a cable that wouldn’t fray as easily. The methods would give different parts of the cable varying levels of stiffness, while keeping the cable uniformly thick. They would also replace what Apple calls the “strain relief sleeve” the stiff cap you’ll find at the ends of many cables.
Apple notes that increased thickness for strain relief sleeves “may not be desired” in some cases, so it’s exploring a different approach. Along with making cables thicker overall, it suggests extending the strain relief beyond the two ends. One way of doing that, according to the filing, is to have varying levels of stiffness across different “longitudinal sections.”
One section is flexible, another is rigid and a third is somewhere in between. The latter, Apple says, can relieve strain on the ends of the cable.
This is just a patent application, and there’s no guarantee that Apple will use this design in future cables. But the fact that Apple has filed this application is a good sign that it is thinking about cable durability. Hopefully we see some improvements down the line.