Apple AirPods case display patent

Wireless earbuds, as a product category, are usually not where you expect to see a display of any size. That didn’t stop JBL from announcing such a thing in the form of the Tour Pro 2 back in September of last year. Now it looks like Apple has been granted an AirPods patent that looks very familiar.

The iPhone maker has been granted a patent for an AirPods case with a touch screen in front. It’s a pretty similar idea to the aforementioned JBL Tour Pro 2, in that the screen serves as a secondary display to the connected phone, presumably an iPhone. The screen will grant limited controls to your playback, such as letting you play, pause or skip tracks. This is gesture specific, with taps being the play or pause input, and swiping letting you skip from track to track. There’s even a rotation input for changing playback volume, which is an interesting choice to be sure.

Apple AirPods case display patent gesture
Source: USPTO.

Beyond the input method, what’s shown in the display will also be contextual to some extent, with the UI changing when you shift, say, from listening to music to an audiobook. Apple also intends to take things further by giving it a “tactile output generator”. This allows the case itself to vibrate when, for example, the audio source for the AirPods changes.

The Apple patent for this AirPods case with a display states that the application was first filed on 24 September 2021. It does give the impression that the iPhone maker wanted the AirPods case to do more than just charge the earbuds themselves. And while the patent describes a fair bit more features than the JBL Tour Pro 2, it remains just a patent, rather than a product you can buy. And as with all patents, it remains to be seen if the fruit company intends to make anything out of it.

(Source: USPTO [PDF])


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