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A future AirPods case could be like a mini iPod in your pocket

A future pair of AirPods or AirPods Pro could have a touchscreen on their charging case if a new patent has anything to do with Apple’s future plans.

Apple patents just about everything that its engineers and designers come up with which means that there are plenty of things that never turn into shipping products. However, plenty of course do, so it’s always interesting to see the kinds of things that are being patented by those deep inside Apple Park.

Now, a new patent suggests that Apple is working on a technology that would allow it to put a touchscreen interface right on the outside of its AirPods charging case.

The patent, which was first spotted by Patently Apple, explains that “there is a need for a headphone case device that can control operations that are traditionally associated with headphones.” Those operations include controlling playback, changing sources, and more, the patent continues. “There is a further need for a headphone case that can also convey information to a user, through haptics and/or display devices. Such methods and interfaces optionally complement conventional methods for controlling wireless headphones.”

Apple / USPTO

The patent depicts something similar to the AirPods Charging Case that is already offered as part of the AirPods and AirPods Pro products, but with a screen on the front similar to the music controls seen on iPhones and iPads.

The patent itself was filed almost two years ago, in September 2021 and was published this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The title – “Devices, Methods, and Graphical User Interface Interactions with a Headphones Case” – leaves little to the imagination.

Considering that this patent is now almost two years old it’s possible that we would have seen a product make use of this technology by now if Apple had plans to use it. But that doesn’t mean that we should rule anything out, with Apple possibly simply deciding that costs or other considerations would currently make AirPods with touchscreens unworkable.

 

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