No, Apple didn't just reinvent the iPod

AirPods Pro concept featuring a screen on the case
(Image credit: MacRumors/Future)

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).

Screenshot from an Apple patent showing an AirPods case with a screen

(Image credit: Apple)

The render by MacRumors (opens in new tab) 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.

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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. 

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Daniel Piper
Senior News Editor

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).