Apple may soon introduce new AirPod cases with built-in touchscreens that allow users to interact with their earbuds more intuitively.
The US Patent & Trademark Office has granted a new patent to Apple for a redesigned AirPods charging case that comes with an interactive display, as reported by Patently Apple.
The patent, titled “Devices, Methods, and Graphical User Interface Interactions with a Headphones Case,” was filed in September last year and was published last week.
According to the patent filing, the case would act as a touchscreen display for the AirPods, giving users more control over various functions of the wireless earbuds.
More specifically, the new built-in screen will allow users to see the battery life of their earbuds, as well as adjust the volume, change tracks, and activate Siri.
The images and descriptions in the patent suggest the display built into the case would offer media controls and even basic apps such as Maps, Weather, and notifications.
“The utility of a headphone case can be enhanced, and user control over a user’s wireless headphones can be improved, by configuring a headphone case with an interactive user interface to enable user control of operations associated with the wireless headphones,” the patent mentioned.
Release Date and Pricing for New AirPods Charging Case
So far, there have been no official announcements from Apple regarding the new AirPod case. However, rumors suggest that the new product could come as early as this year, particularly given that the patent was filed last year.
It is also unknown what kind of price point to expect, but it’s likely that these new cases will sell at a premium given the added technology and interactive features.
Meanwhile, in terms of design, patent images suggest something similar to the AirPods Charging Case that is already offered as part of the AirPods and AirPods Pro products, but with a screen on the front similar to the music controls seen on iPhones and iPads.
The new push by Apple comes as the tech giant has seen massive success with its AirPod line since its initial launch in 2016.
The patent, if realized, would give AirPods a feature that would set them apart from competitors, as other wireless earbuds still require users to interact with them via smartphone or separate controls.
Apple Remains Top Player in Wireless Earbuds Market
Apple has continued to dominate the wireless earbuds market with its AirPods line.
According to a 2022 report by Canalys, Apple increased its shipments by 34% and had close to 31% of the market share in the true wireless headphones category in Q3 2022.
While this also includes the sales of Beats headphones which Apple has in its portfolio, the company’s flagship earbuds, the AirPods Pro, gave Apple a “boost”.
Canalys estimates that Apple shipped close to 4.2 million units of the AirPods Pro. The AirPods Pro accounted for 20% of all AirPods shipments. The technology analysis firm said:
“Apple (including Beats) defended its leadership position with the second-generation AirPods Pro launch, which led to a 34% increase in shipments and a 31% market share. Samsung (including Harman subsidiaries) took second place, but its shipments fell 15% despite its new Galaxy Buds2 Pro launch.”
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