Fan-made Apple renders are nothing new – with every new product rumour and leak comes a slick (and often very real looking) 3D model imagining what it might look like. But for some reason, a new AirPods Pro concept has touched a nerve on Tech Twitter this week.
Based on a recent patent filing by Apple, the concept depicts an AirPods Pro case featuring a touchscreen. Catchily titled 'Devices, Methods, and Graphical User Interface Interactions with a Headphones Case,' the patent describes a headphones case that can display information to the user as well as offer controls. (Don't fancy waiting? Check out the best AirPods Pro deals available now).
The render by MacRumors imagines, rather simply, a small, landscape display crowbarred onto the front of the existing AirPods Pro case. It's a pretty sleek render, and at first glance somewhat believable as a genuine Apple product. But as many are commenting, if Apple does go in this direction, then things are going full circle.
Because yes, it sure looks from the render like Apple has invented... the iPod. That is, a dedicated music player that fits in your pocket. Indeed, those who believe Apple's years of innovation are behind it are having a field day with this one.
that’s literally an ipod https://t.co/JkWIeb6jphApril 6, 2023
steve jobs would have fired the entire team pic.twitter.com/WWiOav1V38April 9, 2023
Apple knowing it’s gonna make millions reselling the iPod Touch as AirPods: pic.twitter.com/1iPrlUgLdhApril 6, 2023
Indeed, the image has been shared so many times that it wouldn't be a stretch to imagine that a significant proportion of scrollers think this thing's real. But of course, Apple patents pretty much every idea it comes up with them – from tooth-controlled AirPods to a weird Mac/iPad hybrid. If patents were any indication of upcoming products, we'd definitely have seen the folding iPhone by now.
So, no, there's no guarantee that this Frankenstein-ish AirPods/iPod mashup will ever see the light of day. And if it does, we'd be very surprised to see it feature any kind of built-in storage, or indeed the ability to work without an iPhone. With even the much-rumoured Apple VR headset said to require an iPhone, the chances of Apple releasing a standalone music player seem very, very slim. So, don't worry – Apple probably hasn't just reinvented the iPod.