By incorporating a touch display feature, this new Apple AirPods case patent will let users navigate through their audio experience hassle-free.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published Apple’s application for an interactive AirPods case patent last March 30th, which aims to upgrade the existing AirPods case to possess a more complex user interface, including a touch display.
This came six months after the application was filed in September 2022 by resident Apple interaction architect Darius Satongar, together with Apple interaction designers William Lindmeier and Linus Persson.
The patent document claims, “The utility of a headphone case can be enhanced, and user control over a user’s wireless headphones can be improved.”
Thus, Apple saw the need to file a patent application to enhance AirPods users’ listening experience.
Apple Interactive AirPods Case Features
As Apple claims, the company’s new patent application will not only focus on configuring a control operation for the AirPods case.
Most importantly, it was designed to also convey information to users through its several embodiments, in a way that is both accessible and convenient.
One of the patent’s features includes haptics and/or display on the case itself, with interfaces that will optionally complement conventional methods for controlling wireless headphones. This includes playback controls as well as non-music-related functions like voice assistant triggers.
This haptics feature is claimed to “produce a more efficient human-machine interface,” as well as to “conserve power and increase the time between battery charges.”
Moreover, the AirPods case may also include a Graphical User Interface (GUI) and a touch-sensitive or touch-screen display.
Users can primarily interact with the GUI either through finger contacts on the touch-sensitive surface or an Apple Pencil.
The case also incorporates internal storage for one or more processors and instructions for multiple functions.
Additionally, in some manifestations, the AirPods case includes one or more tactile generators, one or more device orientation sensors, and optionally an audio system, which increases efficiency and users’ satisfaction.
Why Is There a Need for AirPods Case With Touch Controls
According to the published Patent application, wireless headphone cases have been traditionally designed only to hold and charge wireless headphones.
It also described the traditional cases as “commonly passive devices” whose functions are typically commanded and controlled by external sources.
But, Apple thinks that there should be more than that. It saw a further need for a headphone case that can manage actions often connected to the headphones themselves.
Meanwhile, as seen in the Apple community thread, several AirPods users have been expressing their shared experiences about how their cases drain quickly.
According to one user, a product recall needs to be done as the problems on the AirPods battery are not isolated cases.
With Apple’s latest patent application, it aims to address some of the loopholes presented. It hopes to provide longer battery life and improve AirPods controls.
AirPods Case With Interactive Touch Display: What Users Say
Although the proposed design just came out, a mix of reactions online can already be observed.
Reddit user iqandjoke could not help but compare Apple’s latest patent design to that of JBL’s Tour Pro 2, which was mentioned earlier. He says, “I guess it means something like JBL’s Tour PRO 2 earbuds with touchscreen.”
Commenter 7eventhSense, meanwhile expressed a positive sentiment regarding the product, saying it was not a “shabby idea” to have a dedicated music widget on the screen.
“Choosing [a] playlist, searching songs, skipping songs, changing volume — probably easier than getting the phone out, and doing it,” he notes.
For user Mysterious-End-441, he claims that this will never be released. He argues, “this would significantly inflate the cost of AirPods without providing significant benefit to the user (like touch bar on Macs).” He also questions Apple’s claim on battery conservation.
Since the first release of the AirPods in 2016, Apple has been continuously working to improve the functionality of the case for various models such as including a MagSafe wireless charging, a U1 Ultra Wideband chip, a lanyard loop, and an increased battery life.
Now, this is Apple’s latest take in a bid to further enhance its long-time AirPods product.
- Apple invents an AirPods Case with a frontside Touch Display allowing users to interact with apps for Music, Apple TV+, Maps & more. Patently Apple. (2023, March 30). Retrieved from https://www.patentlyapple.com/2023/03/apple-invents-an-AirPods-case-with-a-frontside-touch-display-allowing-users-to-interact-with-apps-for-music-apple-tv-maps.html
- Carnoy, D. (2023, January 4). JBL Debuts a Bunch of New Earbuds at CES. CNET. Retrieved from https://www.cnet.com/tech/mobile/jbl-debuts-a-bunch-of-new-earbuds-at-ces/