Is the iPod coming back? Let’s take a sneak peek into a recent leak of the new AirPods case and how it resembles the millennial audio device.
Apple has been exploring a potential redesign of the AirPods case, which may include an interactive touchscreen display, according to a recently surfaced patent.
The patent indicates that the case will provide access to various applications connected to the AirPods. Based on the design showcased in the patent, it may even revive the Apple iPod.
“Devices, Methods, and Graphical User Interface Interactions with a Headphones Case,” filed by Apple in September 2021 and published last week by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, clearly depicts various embodiments for such a design, complete with images of the AirPods and a touchscreen on the case’s front.
This patent is not new and was filed by Apple in 2021, stating the need for a wireless earbuds case that would allow users to control audio and provide a new AirPods experience.
Regardless of the final design, the new AirPods will certainly be exciting.
Let’s take a closer look.
New look, but how?
While the design may seem innovative, other headphone competitors have already ventured into this territory. For instance, JBL, a Samsung-owned brand, showcased a very similar design at the previous CES.
The JBL Tour Pro 2 earbuds feature a case with a display that closely resembles what is depicted in the Apple AirPods patent.
According to the patent, audio output device cases are typically inactive tools that are utilised for charging audio output devices.
However, the utility of a headphone case can be increased, and the user’s control over their wireless headphones can be improved by designing a headphone case with an interactive user interface that allows the user to manage operations associated with the wireless headphones.
Apple has proposed a novel way of controlling Apple Music by using a capacitive touchscreen interface integrated into the AirPods case.
This touchscreen would not only provide visual feedback but also offer tactile feedback, enabling users to operate audio playback, volume adjustment, song selection, and other functions without looking at the audio-source.
Additionally, the case could respond to precise gestures like taps and swipes, allowing users to access onscreen content and activate Siri.
The patent further suggests that compressing the case might alter the AirPods’ listening mode, potentially enabling noise Cancellation and transparency features.
The patent also reveals that the AirPods case could contain extra processors and memory modules, enabling it to execute certain commands commonly associated with smartphones, computers and other connected devices.
The touchscreen display could offer interactive access to various iPhone apps, including Phone, Mail, Messages, Camera, Calendar, Weather, Maps among others.
According to the patent, incorporating an interactive touchscreen display in this manner would “reduce or eliminate deficiencies associated with user control of wireless headphones.”
While it is uncertain if the technology described in the patent will be incorporated into a product anytime soon, or even at all, it provides an intriguing glimpse into how Apple is exploring innovative ways to enhance the AirPods case’s functionality as a go-between for the AirPods and the linked audio source.
Since the AirPods’ initial release in 2016, Apple has been continuously upgrading their case’s functionality with various versions.
The AirPods Pro case, in particular, has been enriched with a plethora of features such as MagSafe wireless charging, a U1 Ultra Wideband chip for Precision Tracking with Find My, a lanyard loop, a built-in speaker for location tracking and status updates, and increased battery life.