(Pocket-lint) – Apple’s charging cables are prone to breaking down. Whether it’s a Lightning cable or a USB-C cable, eventually, they all turn yellow and fray. But, apparently, Apple realises this is a known issue.

The company has even filed a USPTO patent application for a cable with “variable stiffness”, as first spotted by Apple Insider. It describes different solutions for preventing a cable from tearing, including thickening parts with varying levels of stiffness. Apple would also ditch the so-called “strain relief sleeve”, or the cap at the ends of most of its cables, which honestly seems to not work at all.

Apple itself admitted the sleeve fails in its patent application:

“It is well known that bending of the cable near the termination point may cause unwanted strain on the wire connections, which may lead to cable failure. . . Accordingly, it is common to provide a strain relief sleeve made of a stiff material around the end region of the cable. The stiff material creates a localized increase in the bending resistance of the cable, thereby relieving strain on the wire connections. . . In addition to making the cable locally stiffer, the strain relief sleeve also makes the cable thicker at the ends. In some instances, the added thickness may not be desired.”

So, instead of the sleeve approach, Apple’s patent would replace it with varying flexibility and stiffness and uniform thickening across the entire cable to supposedly better protect it no matter where the cable bends. It all sounds sort of vague to us still, but it’s good to see Apple acknowledge its cable durability is extremely sub-par and that something should be done (ideally sooner than later).

Here’s to hoping Apple’s next-generation cords won’t be such a disappointment.

Writing by Maggie Tillman.





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