The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has approved an Apple filing for a next-gen Smart Cover with innovative features.
Dubbed "Cover Attachment with Flexible Display," the new patent suggests that the Smart Cover will not only provide users with an additional screen, but it will also be equipped with Wacom-inspired stylus-drawing support.
"Accessories for tablet devices have become quite common. Today typical tablet accessories are passive in nature, the majority of which simply function to protect the screen, or perhaps support the tablet in some specific orientation. ... These accessories can be improved by including at least some of the following features: a power source; a communications protocol; an input method; and an independent storage medium," says Apple on its patent filing.
The patent was originally filed in 2012. In one of the several illustrations, it shows that the future iPad cover could have an extra screen that can be useful to those who need one for reference viewing, while the second for working.
One illustration reveals that users can jot down notes on the outside of the Smart Cover, and then their handwriting will be converted to text. This scratch pad functionality can be very useful to those who need to find an excellent place for writing down important notes whenever they want and wherever they may be.
Another illustration suggests how the Smart Cover can also be simpy folded and act as a stand for watching media content. Although this folding feature is already present in the current Smart Cover, the patent filing shows that the future cover will also be made up of controls which can be manipulated by touching the stand.
Other innovative features include a solar panel for collecting power and an embedded touchscreen as well as a QWERTY keyboard in a flap.
Apple noted that the future Smart Cover may just be able to accommodate app interfaces that will go beyond the display of its iPad. What it envisions is the possibility of making notifications and reminders visible in the top-right corner of the cover.