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.

ipad smart cover status
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.

ipad smart cover display solar
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.

ipad smart cover keyboard
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.

ipad smart cover notes
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
Buyer's Guide: iPad (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

azentropy Avatar
110 months ago

[url=https://cdn.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogodarkd.png]Image (https://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 (https://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 (https://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 (https://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 (https://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 (https://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!
Score: 52 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djrod Avatar
110 months ago
The reminder "Don't forget to call Steve back after launch" is a bit sad :(
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
notjustjay Avatar
110 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.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
shawnwich Avatar
110 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.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Peace Avatar
110 months ago
Well this will keep the lawyers busy in a couple of years.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mattymo Avatar
110 months ago
OH NOES!!! STEVE JOBS NEVER WOULD HAVE APPROVED THIS!!???1111


/sarcasm
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

16inchmacbookpromain

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to Feature Flat-Edged Design, MagSafe, No Touch Bar and More Ports

Thursday January 14, 2021 9:32 pm PST by
Apple is working on two new MacBook Pro models that will feature significant design changes, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple is developing two models in 14 and 16-inch size options. The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as "similar to the iPhone 12" ...
iphone x camera close

iOS 14.4 Will Introduce Warning on iPhones With Non-Genuine Cameras

Thursday January 14, 2021 8:07 am PST by
In the second beta of iOS 14.4 seeded to developers and public testers this week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has discovered code indicating that Apple will be introducing a new warning on iPhones that have had their camera repaired or replaced with aftermarket components rather than genuine Apple components. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera," the message will...
prototype iphone 12 pro

Prototype iPhone 12 Pro Shown Off in Photos

Wednesday January 13, 2021 3:39 pm PST by
Developer Giulio Zompetti, who often shows off prototype versions of Apple devices, today highlighted a prototype version of the iPhone 12 Pro. The iPhone 12 Pro is running an operating system called SwitchBoard, a nonUI version of the iOS 14 update that Apple uses internally. We've seen SwitchBoard on prototype devices before, as Apple uses it to test new features. Zompetti's prototype...
find my app safari post

Safari Allows Users to Enable Hidden 'Items' Tab in 'Find My' App Ahead of AirTags Launch

Wednesday January 13, 2021 5:45 am PST by
As seen in screenshots obtained by MacRumors in 2019, Apple's long-rumored AirTags items trackers are expected to be managed through the Find My app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Now, any user can get an early look at this tab. MacRumors reader David Chu today alerted us that the hidden "Items" tab in the Find My app can be enabled on an iPhone or iPad by typing in the link findmy://items in...
pioneer carplay wc5700nex

The Best Apple-Related Accessories at CES 2021

Wednesday January 13, 2021 1:16 pm PST by
CES 2021 is taking place digitally this year, and it hasn't been as exciting as in past years because many vendors have opted out. That said, some companies are still showing off some interesting Apple-related accessories that are coming out this year and that will be of interest to Mac, iPad, and iPhone users. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Pioneer Wireless...
Hue module dimmer switch

Philips Hue Announces New Wall Switch Module, Dimmer Switch, and Outdoor Light Bar

Thursday January 14, 2021 3:11 am PST by
Philips Hue has announced a new wireless dimmer switch module that lets Hue bridge owners directly control the smart lighting from their standard wall switches. The new Philips Hue wall switch module is the ideal addition to any Philips Hue set up. Installed behind existing light switches, it allows users to turn their existing switch into a smart switch and ensures their smart lighting is...
macbook pro 16 inch thunderbolt

Bloomberg: Next-Generation MacBook Pro to Offer Improved Displays, Faster Charging Over MagSafe

Thursday January 14, 2021 11:36 pm PST by
Following today's report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlining major changes for the next-generation MacBook Pro models coming in the third quarter of this year, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has weighed in with his own report corroborating some of the details but seemingly differing a bit on others. First, Gurman shares more details on the return of MagSafe charging to the MacBook Pro, indicating...
cook cbs this morning

CBS This Morning: Apple to Make 'Big Announcement' Tomorrow Morning

Tuesday January 12, 2021 8:46 am PST by
CBS This Morning today shared a short clip of an upcoming interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook in which addressing last week's events at the U.S. Capitol, with Cook saying "it's key that people be held accountable for it." Following the clip, Gayle King of CBS noted that the interview with Cook was not specifically arranged to address the current controversy over Parler and other repercussions, ...
iOS 14

Apple Seeds Second Betas of iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Wednesday January 13, 2021 10:03 am PST by
Apple today seeded the second betas of upcoming iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the new betas coming a month after Apple released the first betas. iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or iPad. Paired with the HomePod 14.4 beta that is...
caldigit thunderbolt 4 dock featured

CalDigit Introduces USB-C Dock With 10 Ports and Up to 94W Charging for Macs [Updated]

Wednesday January 13, 2021 9:16 am PST by
CalDigit today unveiled a new Thunderbolt 4 dock with a wide selection of connectivity options, including three USB-A ports, one USB-C port, two HDMI 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, an SD card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The dock also has a Thunderbolt 4 port that allows it to be connected to a Mac with a single cable, with up to 94W of pass-through charging for the latest MacBook...