Apple is investigating the concept of iPhone cases that can charge AirPods

Apple is researching a number of different covers and cases for the iPhone and iPad, some of which include the ability to charge AirPods.

From 2018, we can charge the Apple Pencil magnetically by connecting it to the iPad Pro. Now it seems that Apple wants to expand the idea as research shows different cases and covers that may enable this or similar charging features.

These cases and covers are described in two newly granted patents. Together they are widespread and both have ties to defense equipment and are getting more from them. Nor is it about iPad Pro-style charging for future devices, only in cases.

“Cases and folios for carrying and charging goods,” is the major new patent, covering the largest range of options. Each “relates to a case for maintaining a portable electronic device and an accessory,” Apple says.

In cases there may be “a cavity” that lets the device fit inside, and can also transfer power. Apple is usually careful to note that what it is describing can be used to charge anything from a phone to a camera or drone, and the cases are “a folio, a wallet, a There may be a flap, a cover, a barn, a holster, a “clip, a sleeve, an armband, or an appropriate combination thereof. “

A patent showing the AirPod is being charged in detail

Continuing the patent, “Often users find that their electronic accessory is out of power use only.” “But they can’t take the charger with them.”

Apple already had iPhone cases that included batteries and could charge the phone. This patent includes that capability, but also describes how the iPhone case can power the accessory.

“The case can … include a first terminal, a second terminal, and a battery,” Apple continues. “The first terminal can receive electrical energy from a portable electronic device to charge the battery. And the electrical energy stored in the battery can be transferred to the auxiliary device via the second terminal.”

The idea is that the case then becomes more than just a protective shield. Rather, it may be something that contains “receptors” which in turn charge other devices such as AirPods.

“[For example a] The receptacle may consist of two openings, one at each end for receiving the accessory device, “the patent says,” and one for transferring energy between the receptacle and the accessory device between the charge terminals 122. “

The patented images show AirPods appearing in these receptacles, but this does not rule out an Apple Pencil-style wireless connection. “Accessory devices can be maintained through friction fit, magnetic coupling, or both,” Apple continues.

Detail from patent showing alternative status for charging AirPods in an iPhone case

Detail from patent showing alternative status for charging AirPods in an iPhone case

Other options discussed for new covers and cases include the ability to feature a smaller display, such as showing a battery level. And the case may further involve a slated compartment to store money and credit cards. “

It is the first of two new granted and related patents credited to eight inventors. One, Yunho Joe, has previously worked on fingertips and face mapping tools for Apple AR.

Separately, a second patent, granted to John G. Elias, the sole inventor, concerns the “cover for an electronic device”. This mainly explains what appears to be an extension of Apple’s older smart covers.

“Typically, protective coverings for tablet computers extend over the surface area of ​​the touch screen component of a tablet computer,” the patent says. “However, users may have to be concerned with protecting the surface of the back of the tablet computer from scratches, dings, or other damage that may be unsightly to the tablet computer.”

So it is a wraparound smart cover, but Apple also proposes that the cover be used as the iPad’s “protective cover for all surfaces”. For example, the drawing shows when the case is opened in a stand.

More drawings and descriptions expand the possibility that a keyboard may be involved in the case. Apple and several other manufacturers have previously released keyboard folio cases, but now Apple proposes one that takes out the regular key.

Patented detail showing a view of the front-and-back iPad cover including a keyboard

Patented detail showing a view of the front-and-back iPad cover including a keyboard

“The keyboard can be a multi-touch keyboard that is optimized to receive both keyboard input and touch input,” it says. “In this regard, the keyboard includes a transparent and / or semitransparent touch sensitive panel with a plurality of keys arranged in a keyboard configuration.”

So it looks like a keyboard, but it is similar to the onscreen virtual keyboard that already comes with the iPad. A user can type “striking the smooth surface above a particular key” or using “slipping gestures or other movements like a smooth surface”.


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