Apple’s AirPods have undergone various improvements and updates since their initial release in 2016. Despite the added functionalities, they remain in essence, wireless earbuds that require a nearby device such as an iPhone to function. Apple, however, might be on the verge of changing this status quo as it has recently patented a new AirPods case that comes with an interactive display.
According to Patently Apple, the US Patent & Trademark Office has granted Apple a patent for a new AirPods charging case with an interactive touchscreen display. The display on the front of the case would allow users to control media and access basic apps such as Maps, Weather, and notifications. The patent description and images suggest that the display could be similar to that of an Apple Watch.
As per Patently Apple, the US Patent & Trademark Office has granted Apple a patent for a revamped charging case of AirPods. The front part of the case would come equipped with a touch-sensitive display, similar to that of an Apple Watch. Based on patent description and images, the built-in display would offer controls for media and even basic applications such as Maps, Weather, and notifications.
The patent reveals that users could switch between different applications through Siri commands. One of the images even portrays the possibility of transmitting a song from AirPods to a HomePod using Handoff.
The patent was filed by Apple in September 2022, which indicates that the company may be exploring this idea internally. However, Apple files numerous patents, and only a few of them become a reality. Nonetheless, the prospect of AirPods operating on a UI-based OS with a touch display is fascinating.
Apple’s discontinuation of the iPod last year marked the end of a more than 20-year run. The company assured customers that music would still be available through other products, such as the iPhone, HomePod, and, of course, the AirPods. Adding some basic functionality to these wireless earbuds could revive the iconic device in a modern form.
Alternatively, the AirPods case could serve as a complementary accessory to the iPhone, enabling users without an Apple Watch to access media controls and mini-apps without removing their phone from their pocket. However, there are no reports or rumors of an AirPods case redesign, and if Apple is indeed working on one, it will likely take a significant amount of time.
Source: Patently Apple