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Apple is researching a number of unique iPhone cases that can charge AirPods, as well as other accessories, according to newly-granted patent filings.

airpods-iphone-case-patent-folio.jpg


The patent, spotted by AppleInsider, titled "Cases and folios for carrying and charging accessories" and was granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. While the patent predominantly "relates to a case for retaining a portable electronic device and an accessory," suggesting that it could apply for virtually any external accessory, the majority of the images included in the filing clearly feature AirPods.

The described embodiments relate generally to protective cases and covers for electronic devices. More particularly, the present embodiments relate to cases and covers that receive and retain portable electronic devices as well as electronic accessories, such as earphones, and that provide or facilitate charging of the electronic accessories or the electronic devices.

The filing outlines a wide range of different configurations for storing and charging AirPods or other electronic accessories within an iPhone case, including "a folio, a wallet, a flap, a cover, an enclosure, a holster, a clip, a sleeve, an armband, or suitable combination hereof." Specifically, it covers cases with "a cavity that generally corresponds to the dimension of an accessory" and a number of terminals, as well as a battery.

If the case variant contains a battery, it can be charged via a terminal from the device in the case. This battery can then charge accessories via another terminal. Apple also highlighted that cases could communicate with the device inside and accessories via NFC and have "a slotted compartment to store money and credit cards."

One of the main designs for the case depicts AirPods being charged within a long, raised section on the front of a folio.

airpods-iphone-case-patent-folio-2.jpg


The patent adds that some cases could "include a display that displays information supplied by the electronic device and/or the electronic accessory, such as a level of charge of the electronic device and/or the electronic accessory," and illustrates how a small display could display the time and an incoming call on the front of a folio case.

airpods-iphone-case-patent-exploded.jpg


Another less well-developed case design features "two openings, one at each end for receiving accessory devices," on the top of a case. Each opening contains "a charging terminal in between for energy transfer between the receptacle and the accessory devices." AirPods or other accessories "can be retained through frictional fit, magnetic coupling, or both."

Unlike the folio design, this variant is less invasive and more lightweight. However, it leaves much of the AirPods exposed and offers less protection. It is also unclear if this slimmer design is able to include a battery for charging, or if it solely relies on the iPhone itself for power.

airpods-iphone-case-patent-top.jpg


Other case variants visualize AirPods being charged on the back of a case in a design that appears to be similar to the MagSafe Wallet.

airpods-iphone-case-patent-rear.jpg


It may be important to contextualize this patent with the understanding that Apple is increasingly interested in its accessories segment, which has been bolstered in recent years with Apple Watch bands and MagSafe accessories. While patent filings do not necessarily prove what Apple is intending to implement on a consumer product and the contents of many patents never come to market, an iPhone case that can stow AirPods does not seem to be an unfeasible product.

In light of its expanding selection of accessories and increasingly modular approach, an iPhone case for AirPods could offer a compelling option for users that frequently travel with both devices, should Apple ever choose to release the product.

Article Link: Apple Researching iPhone Cases That Can Charge AirPods and Other Accessories
 

Lucca2

macrumors newbie
Dec 11, 2020
13
26
nah! I rather have a reverse wireless charging integrated on the back of the iPhone as most of the expensive android have it
 
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lazyrighteye

macrumors 68020
Jan 16, 2002
2,365
1,454
Denver, CO
Like the thinking of removing the AirPods case form the charging situation and looking at this on a per-bud basis. Smart.
I just lined my buds up at the bottom of my Pro 12 and greatly prefer a case with a larger chin where each bud would sit as opposed to a massive speed bump across the device face. Could double as a carrying case for the phone and buds, which, traveling, could make for a tidier situation. Interested to see how or if this thinking manifests into a shipping product.
 

_Spinn_

macrumors 65816
Nov 6, 2020
1,331
3,285
Wisconsin
Like the thinking of removing the AirPods case form the charging situation and looking at this on a per-bud basis. Smart.
I just lined my buds up at the bottom of my Pro 12 and greatly prefer a case with a larger chin where each bud would sit as opposed to a massive speed bump across the device face. Could double as a carrying case for the phone and buds, which, traveling, could make for a tidier situation. Interested to see how or if this thinking manifests into a shipping product.
Agreed. Giving the case a bigger chin seems much better than a giant lump on the back - that would be uncomfortable to fit in your pocket. Having the AirPods and phone in the same case would be great for traveling.
 

7thson

macrumors demi-god
May 13, 2012
1,207
1,083
Six Rivers, CA
It’s interesting in theory but I’m having a hard time imaging a way they make this a really useful innovation and not just a gimmick. Who knows though? They could have some product(s) in the pipeline that ties into these patents.
 

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
11,776
16,483
Central U.S.
That chonky speed bump on the back is giving the preggo battery case a run for it's money.

If it actually comes out I want credit for being the first one to call it the speed bump case.

Like the thinking of removing the AirPods case form the charging situation and looking at this on a per-bud basis. Smart.
I just lined my buds up at the bottom of my Pro 12 and greatly prefer a case with a larger chin where each bud would sit as opposed to a massive speed bump across the device face. Could double as a carrying case for the phone and buds, which, traveling, could make for a tidier situation. Interested to see how or if this thinking manifests into a shipping product.
Hah, you beat me to it. Well, I still want credit for saying we should call it that.
 

nutmac

macrumors 603
Mar 30, 2004
5,355
4,963
Um, AirPods can be charged in an AirPods case, which fits easily in my pocket and does not cause my iPhone case to be bulkier than it needs to be.

I would, however, appreciate a folio case whose flap can charge AirPods case, assuming it is even possible to do so without significantly increasing the bulk.
 

Will.O.Bie

macrumors 6502
Aug 29, 2016
453
1,165
Oh yes and they'll probably price it absurdly expensive too. Only $249!
Looks promising and functional, but I was thinking more $499. If they can price a stand for $999, why not $499 for a case lol?
 

Deliro

macrumors 65816
Sep 20, 2011
1,092
1,137
If done well, sure. My friend has a iPhone 12 wallet, rather had, and ended up losing his probably will pocketing his phone.
 
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