Apple Patents iPad Case with Smart Cover, Flexible Display
If a year-old patent application is any indication, Apple's designers think they can put a flexible, touch capacitive display on the next iPad Smart Cover.
The highlight of the all-fine-print legalese document is this early quotation:
"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."
No worries if that's Greek to you; just check out the pictures. In fact, the gist of the whole document is that the attached drawings actually represent the product Apple hopes to patent pretty well. The cover's razor-thin display is shown as a touchpad keyboard, extra space for dock icons, an off-screen media-control interface, and even a stylus-compatible drawing pad. And, of course, it will still fold up to stand your iPad at various angles.
Interestingly enough, it looks like Apple's Smart Cover might have beaten Microsoft's Touch Cover to the keyboard-cover-combo punch. It will be interesting to see if this ends in a patent dispute...
The current version of the Smart Cover was released with the iPad 2 to mixed reviews. Its minimal design, which offered relatively little protection, was the focus of the cover's advocates and critics both. The cover depicted here would basically preserve that same design, attaching magnetically to the side of the tablet. "Thin flexible display technology can be integrated into the flexible cover without affecting the overall form factor of the cover," the application explains.
The upgrade looks like it will rely on a future model of the iPad having a side-dock in between the cover's magnetic contact points, serving as a "communication channel" between the Smart Cover and the tablet. Apple hasn't released any info about when (or even whether) such a product might see the light of day - let alone what it would cost.
It seems safe to assume it would be an optional accessory: even as Apple asserts that "adding the integrated display to the flexible cover greatly enhances the overall functionality of the tablet device," none of the features shown here appear essential - just awesome.
sources: Apple patent iPad Smart Cover with second flexible display - Pocket-lint
Apple Patents iPad Case with Smart Cover, Flexible Display | TechnoBuffalo