A new patent granted to Apple could eliminate issues with incompatible cables and adapters should the technology ever appear in the real world.
The U.S. patent awarded today -- No. 8,280,465 -- describes the ways in which a wireless adapter could interface between a device and an accessory.
Such an adapter could include one wireless interface to talk to the device and a second wireless interface to talk to the accessory. The adapter would be able to handle different wireless protocols, such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
"A user may encounter a situation where she has multiple portable media players but one or more of these portable media players are incompatible with one of her accessories," Apple stated in the patent filing. "It may be undesirable to acquire more than one such accessory, not only due to cost reasons, but also because of other concerns, such as limited space...Thus, what is needed are circuits, methods, and apparatus that provide compatibility among incompatible accessories and portable media players.
Apple has run into criticism over its own incompatibilities with its new Lighting interface.
More compact than the traditional 30-pin adapter, Lighting requires special $39 and $29 adapters to connect the new iPhone to existing accessories. Users who want to plug their iPhones into their TVs or computer monitors also would reportedly need to buy HDMI or VGA adapters.
The technology described in the patent would let devices with different interfaces communicate with one other, thus reducing the need to buy a host of physical cables.