California - Apple announced last week that it has applied for a patent to protect its slick new iPad cover. The application lists the patent as "Cover Attachment with Flexible Display". The new technology offers such useful additions as a keyboard, an extra row of apps, and the option of having special notifications appear on the cover space.
Undoubtedly, iPad users have reason to be excited at the possibility of a new Apple issued accessory for the iPad. Some of the cool new features possibly offered will be an ambient power collector, a keyboard and touch screen integrated into the cover flap, a rear display with controls in the back of the iPad, and additional alerts that could be displayed on the cover such as calendar notifications. Many iPad users end up purchasing separate keyboards for use with their iPad, so the keyboard option could prove to be a useful addition when the user folds the cover back. In addition, ambient power has become a popular new option for consumers who would prefer to use solar power to boost displays, particularly when using the iPad outdoors. The cover alert portion of the patent would allow users to display calendar events, notifications and alerts on the cover. The rear display function seems like the least likely of the options to actually come to pass. Industry experts say that locating controls on the back of the product would be impractical since the user would constantly have to turn the product around to see what buttons they were pushing.
The timing of the patent is interesting considering the recently unveiled Microsoft Surface tablet which will be sold with a cover that includes a kick stand and keyboard. The Apple patent could result in a single cover for the iPad, or several smart covers with different feature options. The new iPad smart cover should come out in time for the 2012 Christmas shopping season. The manager of product design at Apple, Fletcher Rothkopf, is listed as the inventor.