From the trove of over 50 new patents Apple was granted this week comes yet another intriguing invention — a possible next-generation AirPods wireless charging case. This patented AirPods case would not only offer wireless connectivity with a Bluetooth speaker system, but would also communicate with non-wireless sources as well.
Presently, Apple is rumored to be on the cusp of releasing an updated AirPods charging case sometime later on this year, featuring external support for Qi-based wireless charging via the company’s also forthcoming AirPower wireless charging mat.
Patent No. 9,949,015, however, which was filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) back in Q3 2017 and published this week, appears to outline a far more futuristic embodiment of an AirPods charging case, equipped with a multi-purpose “wireless transmitter” — allowing it to connect and communicate with an external Bluetooth speaker, an iDevice and more, all at the same time.
Apple’s purely technical patent literature, via Patently Apple, explains: “The case may further include its own wireless radio that can wirelessly communicate audio to the wireless earbuds when the earbuds are not in the case. The case may further include an input port to receive an audio signal from a non-wireless source and may be configured to wirelessly transmit the audio received from the source to the wireless earbuds.”
This wireless transmission of audio playback would be in addition to housing and charging the AirPods wireless earbuds, themselves. As portrayed in Apple’s patent images, FIG. 3 and FIG. 6 shown below, the case would be capable of connecting wirelessly with a device like iPhone or iPad — upon which the user would be able to choose either an iTunes or Apple Music playlist, and have those songs play out loud via an external (non-wireless) speaker system.
Whether Apple actually plans to create and mass produce an AirPods case boasting these technologies remains to be seen — but there would certainly be a place for something like it, especially among the iPhone-maker’s music-loving customers who either already own, or plan to acquire, a pair of AirPods.
As we mentioned, Apple is currently working on an updated AirPods charging case for release at some point later on this year, though — so if this futuristic embodiment ever comes to market, it will more than likely be a while until we see it.