Apple’s popular Smart Cover for the iPad is about to get much smarter.
The United States Patent & Trademark Office published a patent by Apple that is more than a year-old that shows some pretty impressive features in the works for the flexible flap that protects your iPad’s screen.Specifically, the patent shows a future Smart Cover utilizing a built-in, flexible AMOLED-typed display.
That display would be laid over the flexible cover and display notifications such as recent emails, instant messages and upcoming calendar events. It could also double as a keyboard, writeable notepad and controller for music.
The patent description says, “Adding the integrated display to the flexible cover greatly enhances the overall functionality of the tablet device.”
Recently, Microsoft announced it’s best shot at a tablet, the Surface, which includes a type of Smart Cover that features a keyboard for easier typing. While many third-party accessory developers have released hybrid keyboard-cases, it’s something that Apple hasn’t focused on.
Sure you can buy Apple’s Bluetooth keyboard to pair with the iPad, but it doesn’t keep everything in one place. Since the release of the iPad, Apple has wanted to create a device purely based on touch and not on hardware. But even though the iPad keyboard is easy to use, it’s not practical for any long-form writing, or if you have hundreds of emails to reply to each day.
If this patent comes to life, it would certainly put Microsoft’s Surface cover to shame, but it will be difficult.
Apple has been known to be working with various companies that are attempting to produce an ultra-thin and ultra-flexible display. Earlier this year, Wired reported that the iPad Mini will feature a 330 ppi, 7.85-inch IGZO display. IGZO is a new display fabricating technique that can make displays even thinner and higher in contrast, all while using less power.