AirPods Case With Touchscreen Knock-Off Copies Apple Patent

Apple registers many patents most of which never see the light of day as consumer products – officially, that is. One burgeoning knock-off merchant in China has apparently taken cues from an idea Apple had in 2021 for AirPods featuring a case with a built-in touchscreen display.

AirPods Pro Case With Screen
Pictures and video shared on X (Twitter) by occasional leaker @lipilipsi show production units of counterfeit AirPods with an OLED touchscreen integrated into the front of the case.

Activated when the case lid is opened, the display allows users to select noise control options, "Find My" earbuds, choose equalizer presets, and lock the screen. The display also shows users the battery level of each AirPod, the current time, and Bluetooth connectivity.

It's clear where the concept has been ripped off from. An Apple 2021 patent reads:

"The utility of a headphone case can be enhanced, and user control over a user's wireless headphones can be improved, by configuring a headphone case with an interactive user interface to enable user control of operations associated with the wireless headphones."

airpods case display knockoff
In one embodiment, Apple envisions controlling Apple Music via the case through the use of a capacitive touchscreen with a GUI that also provides tactile feedback, allowing the user to control audio playback, adjust volume, favorite songs, and interact with their music in other ways – similar to the knock-off device we see here.

By integrating an interactive touchscreen display in such a way, the patent argues, "deficiencies associated with user control of wireless headphones are reduced or eliminated."

The popularity of AirPods has seen record numbers of counterfeit wireless headphones seized at the U.S. border in recent years. According to a 2021 report, roughly 360,000 counterfeit wireless headphones with a retail value of $62.2 million were confiscated in the first nine months of the U.S. government's fiscal year, based on data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

That should be "AirPods with OLED display"

U.S. Customs said that 80% of all counterfeit products coming into the U.S. were from mainland China or Hong Kong. While it's unclear how many of the seized counterfeit headphones were AirPods, U.S. Customs said seizures had increased 50% in the previous five years as products such as Apple's earbuds gained popularity.

Counterfeit AirPods can use genuine Apple serial numbers and usually look physically indistinguishable from legitimate AirPods. Many often have functional equivalent noise control features, but the touchscreen is a new one on us.

Related Roundup: AirPods 3
Buyer's Guide: AirPods (Don't Buy)
Related Forum: AirPods

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Top Rated Comments

lowkey Avatar
17 weeks ago
Use it or lose it Apple.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ShaneReactions Avatar
17 weeks ago
I've seen a fake pair of AirPods Pro from a coworker. Everything felt and looked identical to Apple's version, including the packaging. It even had the typical pairing splash screen setup when setting them up. The only thing that I noticed was it came with a USB-A to USB-C charging cable, which I know Apple doesn't include in their packaging.
It wasn't until I actually used the AirPods where I realized the quality took a sharp dive. Audio was terrible. Changing volume didn't work. It didn't show up in FindMy. Etc...
Obviously the intent is to trick you into buying them based on sight alone, but they have no intention to come close to matching the quality of the actual product itself.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
foobarbaz Avatar
17 weeks ago
It's pretty cool, but I admit, I can't find a real use case. If I have to pick up the case to do something, I could just as well pick up the phone, right? That's probably why Apple never followed up on the patent.

The only useful thing I can think of is the charge level. I often wished the AirPods had a few more LEDs to show how many charges are left.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Born Again Avatar
17 weeks ago
China Knockoffs CAN innovate my aSs!”- Phil
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
japanime Avatar
17 weeks ago

I've seen a fake pair of AirPods Pro from a coworker. Everything felt and looked identical to Apple's version, including the packaging. It even had the typical pairing splash screen setup when setting them up. The only thing that I noticed was it came with a USB-A to USB-C charging cable, which I know Apple doesn't include in their packaging.
It wasn't until I actually used the AirPods where I realized the quality took a sharp dive.
You're a braver person than I am. If a co-worker handed me their AirPods Pro, there's no way I would stick them in my ears. ??
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
arkitect Avatar
17 weeks ago

Do you want your Air pods to die if you don't feed them? ?
Well, they already do!
?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)