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Apple is researching how to make the ultimate MagSafe wallet and iPhone carrying case

New luggage-label-like accessory designed by Apple

Apple has been granted a patent for a new accessory that would hold a user's credit cards, charge their iPhone, and be worn on the wrist or around the neck.

Apple's FineWoven cases for iPhone may not have been the most well-received ones that the company has made, but it isn't giving up looking for new accessories. In a newly-granted patent called "Accessory device for electronic devices," Apple proposes an accessory that looks like an over-sized luggage tag.

As depicted in the patent's drawings, the accessory is a holder for an iPhone that comes with a strap for attaching it to, perhaps, baggage. Depending on the size and length of the strap, though, this could also be a lanyard, or a way of attaching the iPhone to a wrist.

"[This is] an accessory for carrying a portable electronic device as well as other personal items (e.g., credit cards)," says the patent. "When the accessory device carries the electronic device, the accessory device can communicate with the electronic device, allowing the electronic device to adjust display features in accordance with features of the accessory device."

"The accessory device can also promote wireless charging of the electronic device," it continues, "while hiding/obscuring the structural features (e.g., magnets, structural layers) used to enhance wireless charging efficiency."

There variations on the proposal, but in general Apple describes have a "pocket configured to receive the portable electronic device," or iPhone. There can be an opening in the pocket that helps with wireless charging.

Apple also wants this accessory to be active, in that it communicates with the iPhone it is housing. Then the iPhone can "identify the accessory device and some of its features, such as a location of an opening (or openings)."

That means that the iPhone could elect to display "visual information on the display at a location corresponding to the opening such that the visual information is viewable through the opening."

Plus the accessory could be identified so that the iPhone has a record of the "thickness and material makeup of the accessory..." Then the iPhone could more accurately and reliably determining charging characteristics, such as the time required to charge" its battery.

Technical drawing of a flat object with a circular detail, rectangular area, and attached looped handle.
Many of the patent's drawings include positioning for MagSafe

The drawings show various openings for MagSafe connections, for instance. They also show structural "or stiffening" layers, which Apple says helps with the wireless charging.

While the drawings inescapably bring to mind luggage tags, the text description makes it sound more as if Apple is looking to make a small bag.

"[The accessory] is designed to carry and support portable electronic devices, including smartphones and tablet computing devices, as non-limiting examples," it says. "Additionally, accessory device 100 is designed to carry/hold a user's personal items, such as credit cards, hotel cards, cash, etc., as non-limiting examples."

This patent is credited to four inventors, including Sara Rusignuolo. Her previous Apple work includes several patents and applications regarding iPhone accessory cases.

Note that Apple applies for many hundreds of patents every year. Even when one is granted, though, it is not a guarantee that the product it describes will be released.