Frayed charging cables could soon be a thing of the past – at least for iPhone users

iPhone 11 Pro Max
(Image credit: Future)
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Apple's proprietary charging cables have long held a reputation for fraying easily, but the Cupertino company could finally be set to address the problem if a new patent submission (opens in new tab) is anything to go by.

The patent, first discovered by AppleInsider (opens in new tab), sees the iPhone and Mac maker freely admit that 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."

Apple's patent goes on to list a number of possible solutions, with most options leading back to a "Cable with Variable Stiffness." 

The proposed cable would sport a core with sections of varying thickness that would be "surrounded by an outer sleeve having a uniform thickness", as detailed in the submitted diagram below.

A diagram showing Apple's proposed cable

(Image credit: uspto.gov)
(opens in new tab)

It's worth noting that the patent does not single out Lightning cables by name, meaning the submission could be in relation to a complete overhaul of the company's iPhone, iPad and Mac cables. That means we may see updated Thunderbolt 3, USB-C and MagSafe charger cables in the near future.

Of course, the submission of a patent is by no means a confirmation that Apple will indeed start producing stiffer cables, though it does suggest that the company is seriously looking into it.

Stephen Lambrechts
Senior Journalist, Phones and Entertainment

Stephen primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar's Australian team, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming in both print and online for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, consoles and gaming PCs, and has a deep-seated desire to consume all forms of media at the highest quality possible. 


He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, retro sneaker releases, travelling and physical media, such as vinyl and boutique Blu-ray releases. Right now, he's most excited about QD-OLED technology, The Batman and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.