It’s Apple patent season, as another recently published offering indicates that Apple has at least toyed with the idea of making its Smart Covers offer more for the user.
The patent, which is entitled, “Device Input Modes With Corresponding User Interfaces,” which was published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday, January 22, outlines means to provide information on an iPad, when a Smart Cover is opened a certain way. As seen in the image above, that means that if the iPad’s Smart Cover was tilted up in such a way, contextually aware soft buttons would appear on the edge of the display, like the ability for media controls, or even a way to quickly change settings.
“The device’s ease of use can be increased by enabling access to certain resources or features without requiring the user to unlock the device,” the application reads.“
Other examples include having the iPad next to the owner, an email arrive, and the Smart Cover being lifted to reveal the edge of the display. As a result, the email’s sender and subject could be revealed without having to open up the Smart Cover entirely, or access the Mail app directly.
Gestures could also be tossed into the mix as well, as Apple outlines in the patent application that the Smart Cover’s first segment could be lifted up, and expose a slider that could be manipulated to change the brightness of the iPad. At the same time, sliding a bar up and down could adjust the volume of the iPad as well.
It’s certainly an interesting idea, and giving the Smart Covers a bit more smarts is certainly not a bad idea, either.