Apple on Tuesday was awarded a patent for an invention it filed with the USPTO in August, 2012. It describes a new form of iPad Smart Cover, one that features its own display that can be used for a variety of purposes.
The invention, titled “Cover attachment with flexible display,” describes a flexible cover with an integrated flexible display that can be used to display information to the user. Such a display, as one drawing shows, could be used to provide information on a song playing on the iPad or allow a user to control the media. Presumably, it could also be used for any number of other reasons, including showing notifications.
Apple’s invention describes other potential uses: “A speaker could stand behind [the iPad] with the ability to manipulate controls and view speaker notes on the tablet display (not shown) while the audience views a presentation (as illustrated) on [the cover display]. In another embodiment two users could simultaneously use the tablet with one user manipulating each display.” In another embodiment, Apple shows the cover being used as a sort of sketch pad, while also displaying information about a calendar event and a reminder.
Apple explains that the cover would require its own power. That wasn’t really possible until Apple started adding the Smart Connector to its recent iPads, including both iPad Pros, which can now deliver power to accessories like the Smart Keyboard. In other words, the foundation required to power this sort of invention now exists, even though it didn’t back in 2012 when the patent was filed.
That means that Apple might actually be able to get this idea off the ground quite easily, should it choose to do so.