When Apple first debuted the the Smart Cover for the iPad 2, it was very proud of its seemingly simple screen protector. The bendy cover-turned-stand is certainly a neat twist on the traditional case, but could it stand to be even cleverererer? According to a recent Apple patent application, the answer’s a resounding yes.
First thing’s first: a patent application is not the same as a granted patent. Apple famously files applications for patents on a huge range of crazy ideas and inventions, most of which will never land on Apple Store shelves.
But they’re consistently interesting, nonetheless. This one seems to be, err, ‘inspired’ by Microsoft’s solid work with the case for its upcoming Surface tablets. If the Windows 8 tab can have a keyboard jimmied into its cover, then Apple reckons it can do one better.
The patent application shows a Smart Cover with not just a wafer-thin keyboard, but also a second screen. Detailed over the course of several diagrams, the proposed Smart Cover seems to allow for typing and pressure-sensitive drawing, while the second display acts as a place for notifications and text-based alerts.
All of this would, according to the filings, be made possible by a bespoke connector on the side of the iPad. It’s interesting stuff with a lot of potential.
Whether this has been in the works since before Microsoft debuted the Surface covers or not, it’s cool to see that we’re only at the start of a journey towards tablet covers being as smart as what they’re covering.