iPhone 5 and iPad 3 to be even Thinner than iPad 2?

Apple hates bulky devices, and it shows: over its lifetime, the thickness of the iPhone has been reduced by over 25-percent, and the new iPad is about 30-percent thinner than its predecessor. The Cupertino-based company even launched the thinnest laptop to date, the MacBook Air. By striving to make its devices thinner, Apple continuously runs into issues out of its control, such as the thickness of the ports its devices sport. For instance, two years ago, Apple built the Mini DisplayPort from the ground up to replace the bulky VGA and HDMI ports on its laptops. According to a new patent filing, Apple’s next target is the 3.5-mm (0.14-inch) audio jack port featured on most of its products. The patent, filed on November 10, 2010, and named “Low Profile Plug Receptacle,” is available on the USPTO website, and shows that Apple is looking into ways to shrink the size of the already tiny audio jack port, instead of trying to build a new – and potentially unsuccessful – audio port. Several methods are proposed in the patent filing, including collapsible, and flexible ports.

If this new generation of ports makes it into the next versions of the iPhone and the iPad, the audio jack on these devices would likely be partially, or even completely concealed while not in use. Ultimately, the new ports should allow Apple to offer even thinner devices.

The audio jack, even if already tiny, is the thickest port on the current generation iPhone and iPad. In comparison, the 30-pin dock connector port featured on these devices is no larger than 0.1-inch (less than 3mm).