iPad Smart Covers could get a whole lot smarter with built-in multi-touch flexible displays, solar panels, keyboards

The United States Patent & Trademark Office publicized a year-old Apple patent application today, as noted by Engadget, that described a futuristic iPad cover with a built-in, flexible AMOLED-type display.

The Smart Cover notably houses a touch-sensitive user-interface by way of a “sensor overlaid on the flexible flap display.” A small cover display on the front would also show notifications such as “recent emails, instant messages, or upcoming calendar events.”

Illustrations in the application suggested the inner cover could double as a keyboard, sketching area, solar panel, etc., while the outer-edge of the flexible cover, which is touch-sensitive too, would allow user input and enabling functions like play, pause, fast-forward, and rewind.

“Adding the integrated display to the flexible cover greatly enhances the overall functionality of the tablet device,” explained Apple in the patent application.

The tech passes data, video, and power through a MagSafe-like connector seated on the hinge, but the application further described how power could transfer to the Smart Cover from the tablet via a wireless or wired medium. Wireless charging, however, such as inductive charging, would enable the iPad as a power source for the cover.

The patent application named Fletcher Rothkopf as the inventor. He is a current product manager at Apple, but he previously served as a mechanical design engineer and iPod mechanical engineer and designer for the company.

Most of these USPTO treasures remain folkloric concepts, but it would be nice if this space-age design actually materialized.

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