Apple could be working on a AirPods case that features a touchscreen so you can control your audio and other apps without using your iPhone – kinda like how you'd use an Apple Watch.
That’s based on details from a recently published patent application, which was filed with the US patent office back in September 2022 and which shows an AirPods case that features an “interactive user interface.” The patent application details how, once you’ve connected the case to your iPhone, you could control the music playing through your AirPods by using a screen on the front of the case. This would enable you to change the volume, pause the track, play it again, or skip ahead to the next song (via Patently Apple).
If Apple did introduce such a case for the best AirPods, it wouldn’t be the first to try this approach; JBL did the same thing with the game-changing Tour Pro 2 earbuds. However, Apple's version could come with a few upgrades over its predecessors.
For a start, the case would control more than just your Apple Music app. The patent details how you could use it to interact with a range of iPhone devices and services including Apple TV, Apple Maps, iMessage, and the Weather App. It sounds almost like an Apple Watch without health and fitness features.
What’s more, Apple’s case would reportedly introduce features such as haptics to give users tactile feedback and to allow for a wider range of controls. At one point the patent mentions how you could squeeze the case to change the audio mode of Apple TV Plus shows and films.
As interesting as the case sounds, don’t get your hopes up that we’ll have it in our hands any time soon – or ever, for that matter. Apple may have applied for a patent, but that’s no guarantee that it will be approved, or that the company will make the touchscreen AirPods case a reality even if it is granted.
What’s more, we don’t know how Apple would launch this AirPods accessory. It could decide to make it the default case for the Apple AirPods Pro 3 or another future product, or Apple could decide to launch the case as an optional add-on for the existing AirPods range.
We’ll have to wait and see what Apple decides with this touchscreen AirPods charging case, but whether it launches this year or not, 2023 could be a big year for the tech giant. At WWDC 2023 it could finally unveil its long-rumored Apple VR headset, while the iPhone 15 could finally be getting USB-C – in the most Apple way possible.