On a patent application discovered by Apple Insider last Thursday, it appears that Apple is interested in creating an iPad Smart Cover that would serve as a secondary touchscreen display. Entitled as “Cover Attachment with Flexible Display,” the Smart Cover could allow a user to write simple status messages on it.
The iPad Smart Cover appears to feature a MagSafe-like magnetic connection to the iPad, sharing data that would be shown on the external display. In relation to this, the cover could act as a full-fledged touch keyboard. As stated on the patent application’s abstract:
A tablet device with a flexible cover is disclosed. Thin flexible display technology can be integrated into the flexible cover without affecting the overall form factor of the cover or tablet device. Adding the integrated display to the flexible cover greatly enhances the overall functionality of the tablet device.
Apple’s patent application displays a handful of idea on how a touch-based Smart Cover display could add new functionality to the iPad. This includes an additional row of icons on the homescreen, as well as movie playback controls at the rear of the device.
Touch Cover on Microsoft Surface Tablet
The Smart Cover could also act as a touch keyboard for the tablet, a feature that’s akin to Microsoft Surface tablet’s “Touch Cover.” Last month, the software giant introduced its upcoming tablet during a last minute event in Los Angeles.
The Surface tablet runs on the company’s upcoming operating system, the Windows 8. Among its available accessories is the Touch Cover, which is a full multi-touch keyboard complete with arrow buttons. When attached to the device, it changes the tablet’s screen color. It also turns the Surface tablet on and off presumably through the use of magnets, just like Apple’s Smart Cover.
The Touch Cover also brings physical switch-type keys and clickable trackpad. However, the accessory adds 5 mm if girth to the tablet.
Making Smart Cover a Few Steps Ahead
On the other hand, the Cupertino-based company could go many steps further. Making the device more versatile, the iPad maker could enable a user to make the Smart Cover as a secondary display and write on it using the stylus.
In another example, the secondary display is located on the exterior of the Smart Cover when it is closed. The display will then show system-saved reminders like daily appointments. Additionally, this functionality would allow a user to write new reminders without the need to open the cover.