New Apple patent suggests AirPods charging case will be getting some nifty features — Touch UI to work with Apple Vision Pro and TVs

AirPods Pro 2 on leopard print background
(Image credit: Karen S. Freeman / iMore)

Apple has invented a brand new AirPods charging case with a surface ‘Touch UI’ which allows users to control sound, change songs, and more, without having to grab an iPhone. It has the potential to work with Apple Vision Pro or TVs, with particularly great accessibility implications. 

As originally reported by PatentlyApple, this patent builds on one back in March, giving it specific use cases with the Apple Vision Pro, set to launch early next year. In this, PatentlyApple spotted that Apple says “There is a need to design devices, systems, and methods to increase the user input and control functionalities of wireless headphones and associated devices.”

This interface on the charging case could be used to change the volume on the fly, control the EQ of sounds coming from your buds, or even get custom widgets to affect sound profiles, change music, and more. The potential implementation of capacitative touch means that you could register unique controls like swipes to get unique results. These could react differently to the intensity, speed, and direction of your stroke, to give even more ways of customizing your experience. 

Multiple uses – iMore’s take

The potential, when it comes to XR headsets, means you don’t have to go into the settings of the headset itself to affect the sound, making the AR approach of the Apple Vision Pro more immersive. However, it is the effect on TV watching that intrigues me the most. 

You could potentially connect two sets of Apple AirPods to the same TV, where you could change your specific sound and sound profile without disrupting the moviegoing experience for your movie partner. This has fantastic accessibility appeal as someone who may need specific settings in their listening experience can have that without any worries. You could get your case out, do your own gestures, and get a sound that is perfectly designed for you. 

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James Bentley

James is a staff writer and general Jack of all trades at iMore. With news, features, reviews, and guides under his belt, he has always liked Apple for its unique branding and distinctive style. Originally buying a Macbook for music and video production, he has since gone on to join the Apple ecosystem with as many devices as he can fit on his person. 

With a degree in Law and Media and being a little too young to move onto the next step of his law career, James started writing from his bedroom about games, movies, tech, and anything else he could think of. Within months, this turned into a fully-fledged career as a freelance journalist. Before joining iMore, he was a staff writer at Gfinity and saw himself published at sites like TechRadar, NME, and Eurogamer. 

As his extensive portfolio implies, James was predominantly a games journalist before joining iMore and brings with him a unique perspective on Apple itself. When not working, he is trying to catch up with the movies and albums of the year, as well as finally finishing the Yakuza series. If you like Midwest emo music or pretentious indie games that will make you cry, he’ll talk your ear off.