Apple released the Smart Cover with the iPad 2 early last year and since then the cover has become a model for numerous third party accessory makers who have developed their own versions. However, according to a patent application put out by the United States Patent & Trademark Office, it appears that Apple is looking to take the technology in the Smart Cover one step further.
Since then publicizing of the patent, speculation on the web suggests that a new Smart Cover with a flexible AMOLED display, and even solar panels and a keyboard may be part of Apple’s upgrade to the cover. The touchscreen display on the cover is expected to display information such as emails, messages, and calendar events.The patent suggests that the inner cover would double as a keyboard and could house other technology such as a solar panel and the outer edge would have the ability to control other media such as music with pause and play controls.
According to Apple’s explanation in the patent, the Multi-Touch display in the cover “greatly enhances the overall functionality of the tablet device”. Considering that the current Smart Cover connects to the iPad via magnets, the Smart Cover in the patent would likely have to have some form of inductive charging to power the display and pull up information.
The patent lists the inventor of the tech as Fletcher Rothkopf, currently a product manager at Apple but has also dealt with design and iPod engineering. With this new Smart Cover, Apple can very well revolutionize what cases can do on a device and instead of being just a protective covering and an afterthought, can actually assist in the functionality of the device itself.