Apple Patent Reveals iPad Smart Cover With Flexible Secondary Display

Engadget has discovered a new patent application filed by Apple published by the USPTO today.

The patent application titled “Cover Attachment With Flexible Display” reveals that Apple is looking at ways to add more functionality to the iPad Smart Cover by integrating it with thin flexible display made with AMOLED technology.

Here’s an excerpt from the patent:

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. 

In one example, the patent shows how the small cover display as shown in the diagram below could be used to display notifications such as recent emails, instant messages, or upcoming calendar events.

In another example, the patent shows how color electronic paper display could be embedded into three to four segments of the cover to display information or also include a segment that could allow users to take notes as seen in the diagram below.

Power could be transferred to the accessory from the tablet using wireless charging methods such as induction charging or via solar energy collected using embedded solar panels or RF antennas or a combination of both solar panels and RF antennas in the cover.

The patent also talks about how the flap portion of the accessory could double up as a keyboard with tactile feedback like Microsoft’s Touch Cover accessory for Windows 8 based Surface tablets.

The patent application is credited to Fletcher Rothkopf as the inventor who is currently the Product Manager at Apple.

It is important to note that Apple’s patent applications generally reveals a very wide-range of possibilities but might never see the light of day, though its always interesting to get a glimpse of Apple’s research effort.

We’re quite sure that most people won’t mind paying $69 (cost of the leather iPad Smart Cover) if it came with these features.

[USPTO via Engadget]