New AirPods case could charge your iPhone 8 and Apple Watch

Apple's AirPods case could get some useful new features if a recently filed patent application is anything to go by.

The patent, discovered by the team over at Patently Apple, show the AirPods case being used to charge not only the AirPods themselves but also other Apple devices, such as the Apple Watch and iPhone 8.

As it’s just a patent application there’s no guarantee the tech will ever see the light of day, but it is interesting to see that Apple is looking at ways of implementing wireless-charging tech.

What’s new?

Upon release the AirPods were slightly overshadowed by the shock of the new iPhone not having a headphone-jack socket, meaning the little white headphones never quite got the attention they deserved. 

Pairing them with your phone is quick and easy, the sound quality is great and the battery life is exceptional. 

Clearly, Apple isn’t happy to rest on its laurels, and is looking into ways to ensure that its buds always have charge when you need them.

What the AirPods case could look like as a charging dock

What the AirPods case could look like as a charging dock

The wording of the patent feels intentionally broad, but does contain some interesting details: 

“Such devices can include, for example, portable music players (e.g., MP3 devices and Apple's iPod devices), portable video players (e.g., portable DVD players), cellular telephones (e.g., smart telephones such as Apple's iPhone devices), video cameras, digital still cameras, projection systems (e.g., holographic projection systems), gaming systems, PDAs, as well as tablet (e.g., Apple's iPad devices), laptop (e.g. MacBooks) or other mobile computers.” 

Apple has been pretty cagey about whether the iPhone 8 is going to feature wireless charging, and while this is no guarantee it does show that the Cupertino-based company is at least thinking about it – and we've already reported on Apple joining the Wireless Power Consortium, the body that oversees standards for over-the-air charging tech.

Even if wireless charging is only going to be used for the Apple Watch to start with it would be a welcome addition, as the battery already struggles to last a full day if the Watch is being used for music or calls.

The patent also shows plans for a liquid-tight electrical connector, suggesting that if the AirPods case does become a portable charging dock it would be waterproof.

Andrew London

Andrew London is a writer at Velocity Partners. Prior to Velocity Partners, he was a staff writer at Future plc.