Apple’s charging cables are not exactly known for their durability. They often struggle after a year or two, and may even break down to the point where they will not charge your device at all. (I’ve also noticed that they can get an increasingly acidic shade of yellow.) But Apple is apparently working on some ideas to make the cables more durable, and is filing a patent application for a “variable stiffness cable.”
The patent, first reported by AppleInsider, describes some different ideas for a cable that would not fade as easily. The methods will give different parts of the cable varying levels of stiffness, while keeping the cable evenly thick. They will also replace what Apple calls “strain relief sleeve”
The strain relief sleeve prevents the cable from breaking due to bending, which can be useful since cables are often bent sharply near the ends to plug them in. The thing is, these sleeves often do not prevent the cables from tearing anyway. Apple’s ideas in this patent vary the flexibility and stiffness of an entire cable, which will theoretically better protect against floss wherever you regularly bend it, all without increasing the thickness (meaning you do not need more strain relief).
This is only a patent application, and there is no guarantee that Apple will use this design in future cables. But the fact that Apple has submitted this application is a good sign that they are thinking about the durability of the cable. Hopefully we see some improvements down the line.