Apple has recently been granted a patent for a new AirPods case that features an interactive display. While the AirPods have seen significant updates since their initial release in 2016, they still require a nearby device to function. This new development suggests that Apple is exploring ways to make the AirPods more independent and potentially add new features to the popular earbuds.
Apple has been granted a patent by the US Patent & Trademark Office for a redesigned AirPods charging case that includes a touchscreen display on the front. The display would be similar to that of an Apple Watch and offer media controls and basic apps such as Maps, Weather, and notifications. This could potentially allow AirPods users to interact with their devices without needing to have a nearby iPhone or other devices.
Apple filed the patent in September 2022, indicating that the company might be considering this idea internally. However, Apple files numerous patents, and only a handful of them are implemented in real products. Nonetheless, the possibility of AirPods operating on a UI-based operating system with a touchscreen is fascinating to say the least.
Apple announced the discontinuation of the iPod last year after more than two decades. However, the company noted that music still exists in its other products, including the iPhone, HomePod, and, of course, the AirPods. The inclusion of basic functionality on the AirPods with a touchscreen display could potentially revive the iPod in the current era.
While the interactive display on the redesigned AirPods charging case could potentially enable users to interact with their AirPods without a nearby iPhone or other devices, another option could be for the case to function as a companion accessory to the iPhone. In this scenario, the case could provide basic media controls and mini apps for users who do not have an Apple Watch. However, there have been no rumors about Apple’s plans for an AirPods case redesign, so it may be a while before any such device hits the market.