April 23, 2024

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The AirPods case with touch screen was released in China, which is a copy of an Apple – China patent

The AirPods case with touch screen was released in China, which is a copy of an Apple – China patent

Now, it seems that the product does not have to be released until copies of it are found in China.

Apple files many patents, most of which never make it into consumer products, at least officially. It seems that there is a company in China Inspired by an idea introduced by Apple in 2021For AirPods case, with built-in touch screen.

Photos and videos posted to X by the @lipilipsi account show replicas of AirPods cases with an OLED touchscreen built into the front.

The display is activated when the case lid is opened, allowing the user to adjust noise filtering, enable headphone detection, select preset equalizer settings, and lock the display. Meanwhile, each phone's battery level, local time and Bluetooth connection are displayed on the screen.

It is clear where the idea was copied from. Related patent Apple's 2021 filing states:

The usability of the headphone box can be enhanced, and user control over the wireless headphones can be improved, through a box equipped with an interactive interface system that allows the user to control functions related to the wireless headphones.

In fact, Apple imagines in the patent text a future in which the Apple Music service is controlled through the case thanks to a touch screen with a graphical user interface that provides a series of capabilities, such as controlling music playback, adjusting the volume, selecting favorite tracks and other genres. Of the features, similar to the version shown here.

By integrating this touchscreen into the case, the patent text claims that “vulnerabilities associated with user control of wireless headphones are reduced or eliminated.”

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The popularity of AirPods has led to a record number of copies being seized by US customs authorities in recent years. According to a 2021 report, the US government confiscated about 360,000 copies of wireless headphones with a retail value of $62.2 million in the first nine months of that fiscal year, according to US Customs and Border Protection data.

According to authorities, 80% of all copies that ended up in the United States came from mainland China and Hong Kong. While it's unclear what percentage of the seizures involve AirPods, US Customs authorities report that seizures have increased by 50% over the past five years as products like Apple's headphones have become more popular.

These replicas use original Apple serial numbers and are usually visually identical to the originals. Many have corresponding noise control functions, but the advent of touchscreens shows that we are moving into an era in which ideas that were never officially released are copied.

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