A recently revealed patent from Apple shows the company is looking at producing a wireless headset that offers standalone media playing abilities, rather than relying on a Bluetooth streaming connection to get music piped into the ear.

Apple's latest vision is for times when "the external device with which it is wirelessly coupled is not being used" as during such downtime the headset could be used to play music.

Alternatively, the patent suggests, "if the external device is a telephone, the availability of a recording function could make it possible for the user to record all or part of a conversation. Similarly, voicemail messages received on the user's telephone could be uploaded into the headset for later off-line playback".

On one hand the patent could be seen as a wearable, voice-controlled iPod shuffle with wireless capabilities, and on the other the next-gen of Apple's iPhone headset - more of an iPhone companion device - offering advanced media playing functionality.