Apple has patented a new type of AirPods charging case that has a built-in screen, giving it added abilities in the process.
The patent, which was filed by Apple back in September 2021 but has only just been published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, is titled “Devices, Methods, and Graphical User Interface Interactions with a Headphones Case”.
The patent explains that there is a need for a case that can also control the earbuds when they’re in use.
Apple says that the charging cases are normally “passive” devices that only charge the earbuds when they need to but are otherwise useless. This patent would change that by installing a touchscreen that can be used to control aspects of audio playback.
There is a need for a headphone case device that can control operations that are traditionally associated with headphones (e.g., playback controls, changing audio sources, changing audio output modes, etc.). 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. Such methods and interfaces reduce the number, extent, and/or nature of the inputs from a user and produce a more efficient human-machine interface.
However, it’s always important to remember that Apple patents a ton of ideas each and every year and few ideas turn into products or features that actually ship.
With that being said, the idea of a touchscreen AirPods case could be one that people get behind, allowing them to pause and restart playback without the need for their iPhone or Apple Watch, for example.
It isn’t clear whether the addition of the display would negatively impact other features, like battery life, or what it would likely do to the price of such a product.
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