Apple has been granted a patent that covers a wireless adapter that could provide compatibility between devices and accessories that were previously incompatible, such as the iPhone 5 and accessories with a 30-pin connector.
Apple Insider reports that the patent, which was filed in 2011 and awarded to Apple on Tuesday, could put an end to the complaints about Apple’s new Lightning connector that was introduce with the iPhone 5 in September. Many users with 30-pin connector accessories worth hundreds of pounds found that they were no longer able to use them with their new handset.
The patent is titled “Wireless adapter for interfacing between an accessory and a device,” and Apple explains an invention that “users may have more than one type of media player. For example, a user may have a high-capacity portable media player for home use and a smaller, low-capacity portable electronic media player for use at the gym.”
“For various reasons, these media players may have different size connectors,” Apple continues. “For example, the media players may be made by different manufacturers. Also, they may be made by one manufacturer, but a newer media player may have a more advanced, smaller sized connector receptacle.
For physical incompatibility issues, such as those caused by the Lightning connector, Apple describes an adapter such as the 30-pin to USB adaptors. However, for electrical incompatibility, which can include power, signal or formatting support, Apple describes a wireless adapter where “one or more of these connector interfaces are replaced with wireless circuitry.”
The adapter could communicate signals “between the accessory and the portable media player,” and vice versa. Apple’s invention could also address Bluetooth and WiFi incompatibility.
Apple Insider notes that it is not known whether Apple will launch such adapter, but that it could be an ideal solution to the accessory incompatibility concerns from consumers.
Apple currently offers a 30-pin to Lightning adapter for £25, or £30 for the cable, but this pricing has sparked a backlash from customers.
In September, Apple’s Phil Schiller confirmed that the company wouldn’t be making a Lightning equipped dock for the iPhone 5, because ‘people don’t use them’.