Apple’s AirPods have gained a bunch of new features since their first generation in 2016.
However, they’re still essentially earbuds that require an iPhone or other device nearby. But that may change in the future, as Apple has patented a new AirPods case with an interactive display.
AirPods could become a standalone product in the future with a smart case
As noted by Patently Apple, the US Patent & Trademark Office has granted Apple a patent for a redesigned AirPods charging case. The front of the case would have a touchscreen display similar the one of an Apple Watch. Based on patent description and images, the display built into the case would offer media controls and even basic apps such as Maps, Weather, and notifications.
Also according to the patent, users would be able to switch between apps using Siri commands. One of the images even shows the possibility of transferring a song from AirPods to a HomePod using Handoff.
The patent was filed by Apple in September 2022, which shows that the company could indeed be exploring this idea internally. Of course, Apple files a lot of patents, but only a few of them are actually used in real devices. Still, it’s intriguing to imagine AirPods running a UI-based operating system with a touchscreen.
Last year Apple officially put an end to the iPod after more than 20 years. The company said music lives on in its other products, such as the iPhone, HomePod, and of course the AirPods. Perhaps adding some basic functionality to Apple’s wireless earbuds could be a way to revive the iPod in the modern era.
Another possibility would be to make the case work as a companion accessory for the iPhone. This would allow users who don’t have an Apple Watch to access some basic media controls and other mini apps without having to take their iPhone out of their pocket.
Unfortunately, there are no rumors about Apple planning a redesign for the AirPods case. So if the company is really working on it, it will take a long time.
What do you think about this idea? Let us know in the comments section below.