TECH

Fake AirPods Pro with Built-in OLED Display Brings Apple Patent to Life

Fake AirPods with a screen in the charging case

x.com

Apple once patented the idea of ​​​​using a touch interface on a charging case AirPods, but never used this feature. The fake shows what might be possible.

AirPods were released in 2016 as an iPhone accessory, and their status hasn't changed much since then. Thanks to Apple's ecosystem of hardware and software, they offer advanced connectivity, but have never served as a core product category.

Apple's patent filings indicate that the company was considering adding new interface elements to make AirPods work better independently of the iPhone. Although these patented technologies never made it into the AirPods box, the company attempted to reproduce the patent in a counterfeit AirPods kit.

Solving a problem that doesn't really exist

Of course, since the touchscreen AirPods are fake imitations, they don't have access to technologies like Apple's processor H2. Additionally, the display interface looks very basic, unlike anything Apple has ever released.

It's easy to see why touchscreen AirPods could offer an interesting paradigm. However, the Apple Watch exists, so for Apple Watch owners the display seems redundant.

Seeing things like battery information and now playing music on the side of the AirPods case is new, but not entirely required. If you're reaching into your pocket to pull something out, there's not much difference between grabbing an iPhone case or an AirPods case.

Again, this information is even more accessible on Apple Watch.

The controls on the body seem interesting until you remember that play/pause, skip and song selection can be done from the headphones themselves. Whether it's gestures, taps or Siri, there's no need to reach for your screen case.

Possible use cases

However, it's not always a bad idea to have more interaction and control. One of the concepts behind the fake device is a built-in equalizer. Having headphone-specific controls makes some sense.

More information about the battery would certainly be useful, especially when installing the device on a charger. Instead of having a battery widget or opening the lid of the AirPods, the battery is shown on the front of the device.

Contact information may be displayed when AirPods are in lost mode. At least it would be more obvious than connecting through the Find My app.

Taking this concept to the extreme, Apple could also add internal storage. Then AirPods and the case can act as a standalone music player with a display — modern iPod.

We need fewer displays, not more

In a world full of displays, it might not be worth adding another — especially an extra one like this one. Apple probably researched this idea and patented it because it sounds like something useful, but stop and think for a second and it almost sounds stupid.

One aspect of this may be stolen for our augmented reality future. Apple Vision Pro will soon be able to detect when you look at the AirPods case and show information about the headphones' battery life and current playback.

We think the AirPods Pro case might even have some sort of Apple Magic Keyboard-like window snap for the AutoCorrect panel. But while redundancy used to be an issue, spatial computing is making displays less necessary, not more.

Apple is expected to introduce AirPods 4 later in 2024. There may be two models that will replace the slots currently occupied by AirPods 2 and AirPods 3. Although these new AirPods will not have a display on the body, they will have new capabilities. Some rumors suggest that Apple may release some AirPods that can function as hearing aids.

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