Apple has applied for a patent that would keep the iPhone safe from harm in the event users are a bit too rough with charging docks.
The US Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday published a patent application filed by Apple that would allow users to both charge their iPhones in a Lightning connector dock, as well as ensure that undue force or torque placed on that connector wouldn't result in any harm to their handsets. Patently Apple earlier reported on the patent application.
The application specifically describes a docking station that has Apple's Lightning connector and a back plate to hold the device. If a user applies too much pressure or moves the connector in too strong a fashion while an iPhone is connected, triggering a break, the fracture would happen at the point of the dock, rather than inside the iPhone.
Apple's Lightning connector was unveiled two years ago to replace the traditional 30-pin connector. The Lightning connector is designed to work in any direction, meaning it doesn't matter which way it's plugged into a device in order to work.
Dock connectors have, of course, been around a long time. However, when the connectors built into the dock are too rigid and users are too forceful in removing devices from the dock, the connector stays on the dock and damages the receptacle built into the handset rather than breaking away.
Apple's patent application aims to solve that issue by creating a method by which the connectors would break off before they have the capability of damaging the receptacle. Although the Lightning connector is the focus of the patent application, Apple indicates that it could apply to any other type of connector that plugs into a dock.
CNET has contacted Apple for comment on the patent application. We will update this story when we have more information.