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Apple Researching iPad Smart Covers with Secondary Displays, Keyboards, Solar Cells

Engadget points to a newly-filed patent application from Apple showing ideas for a significantly enhanced iPad Smart Cover that could contain such features as a secondary display, a keyboard, and power collectors in the form of solar cells or RF energy antennas.
An accessory device that is arranged to communicate with a host device by way of a communication channel is claimed. The host device includes a host device display arranged to present visual information. The accessory device includes the following: a flexible flap having a size and shape in accordance with the host device display, where at least a portion of the flexible flap is covered by a flap display configured to present visual information; and a connecting portion, the connecting portion arranged to provide at least a communication channel arranged to convey information between the host device and the accessory device where at least some of the information is presented visually on the flap display.

In one example, Apple shows how secondary displays integrated into the Smart Cover could offer a mini home screen alongside the primary screen or be used to display information to others while folded into its stand configuration. The displays could draw power and transmit data from a connector alongside the Smart Cover hinge or rely on embedded solar cells or RF energy antennas for power needs.


Apple also proposes to use the Smart Cover's surface as a keyboard with a touch section for customizable virtual keys. The keyboard is in some ways similar to the cover keyboard Microsoft has demonstrated for its upcoming Surface tablet.


Finally, Apple shows how embedded e-paper displays on the exterior of the Smart Cover could offer information such as notifications and reminders without requiring the user to open the cover and turn on the device. Apple could also integrate a section that would allow users to quickly scribble their own notes on the cover.


The patent application was filed in August 2011 and is credited to Apple design engineer Fletcher Rothkopf, who now serves as a manager in the company's product design division.

Related roundup: iPad Air 2

Top Rated Comments

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29 months ago

[url=http://cdn.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif]Image (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/08/02/apple-researching-ipad-smart-covers-with-secondary-displays-keyboards-solar-cells/)[/url]


Engadget points (http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/02/apple-smart-cover-display-patent-application/) to a newly-filed patent application (http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2220120194448%22.PGNR.&OS=DN/20120194448&RS=DN/20120194448) from Apple showing ideas for a significantly enhanced iPad Smart Cover that could contain such features as a secondary display, a keyboard, and power collectors in the form of solar cells or RF energy antennas.Image (http://cdn.macrumors.com/article-new/2012/08/ipad_smart_cover_status.jpg)


In one example, Apple shows how secondary displays integrated into the Smart Cover could offer a mini home screen alongside the primary screen or be used to display information to others while folded into its stand configuration. The displays could draw power and transmit data from a connector alongside the Smart Cover hinge or rely on embedded solar cells or RF energy antennas for power needs.

Image (http://cdn.macrumors.com/article-new/2012/08/ipad_smart_cover_display_solar.jpg)


Apple also proposes to use the Smart Cover's surface as a keyboard with a touch section for customizable virtual keys. The keyboard is in some ways similar to the cover keyboard Microsoft has demonstrated for its upcoming Surface tablet (http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en/us/about.aspx).

Image (http://cdn.macrumors.com/article-new/2012/08/ipad_smart_cover_keyboard.jpg)


Finally, Apple shows how embedded e-paper displays on the exterior of the Smart Cover could offer information such as notifications and reminders without requiring the user to open the cover and turn on the device. Apple could also integrate a section that would allow users to quickly scribble their own notes on the cover.

Image (http://cdn.macrumors.com/article-new/2012/08/ipad_smart_cover_notes.jpg)


The patent application was filed in August 2011 and is credited to Apple design engineer Fletcher Rothkopf, who now serves as a manager in the company's product design division.

Article Link: Apple Researching iPad Smart Covers with Secondary Displays, Keyboards, Solar Cells (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/08/02/apple-researching-ipad-smart-covers-with-secondary-displays-keyboards-solar-cells/)


Cool. Then I'll need a smart cover to protect my smart cover!
Rating: 52 Votes
29 months ago

Before anyone whines about how the Surface has a cover with a keyboard, from everything I've seen, that cover doesn't fold into the triangle - it stays flat.


Now I'm curious to know who patented the "keyboard in a cover" idea first.
Rating: 20 Votes
29 months ago
The reminder "Don't forget to call Steve back after launch" is a bit sad :(
Rating: 20 Votes
29 months ago

I really hope this comes out for the iPad3 and does not eventually get released as an iPad 4 only item.



They're talking about transmitting data through the smart cover hinge - from the breakdowns and exterior of the new iPad, it's pretty clear there is nothing there to transmit data through that hinge.
Rating: 16 Votes
29 months ago
That's the Apple I know.
Rating: 14 Votes
29 months ago
Well this will keep the lawyers busy in a couple of years.
Rating: 14 Votes
29 months ago
OH NOES!!! STEVE JOBS NEVER WOULD HAVE APPROVED THIS!!???1111


/sarcasm
Rating: 14 Votes
29 months ago
Maybe Apple will have to call these "Genius" Covers.
Rating: 10 Votes
29 months ago
I must say that when I saw the Microsoft cover with a built in keyboard that I thought that was a brilliant idea. I know we have 3rd party covers with keyboards in them for the iPad, but not built into the cover itself like the one Microsoft created.
Rating: 9 Votes
29 months ago

That would be pretty cool to have. Being Apple, I'm guessing the price for that thing would be around $100 or so for all that. And yeah, I'd still probably buy it.

Current cover is already $69.

What you're looking at is a $299 cover.
Rating: 9 Votes

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