A new Apple patent filed a little over a year ago with the US Patent and Trademark Office shows off a Smart Cover that would double as a secondary display and allow user input. As with other patents, no one knows if it'll ever see the light of day but it's definitely a neat concept.
The patent details a cover that adds a second display that could act as extra screen real estate in order to show notifications, function as a media controller, or even accept user input in the form of a touch keyboard or drawing instrument. Using the keyboard as a cover would be very simliar to what Microsoft is trying to do with the up and coming Surface tablet.
An accessory device arranged to communicate with a host device by way of a communication channel, the host device comprising a host device display arranged to present visual information, the accessory device comprising: a flexible flap having a size and shape in accordance with the host device display, wherein 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 wherein at least some of the information is presented visually on the flap display.
The Smart Cover assembly would attach in a way similar to how the existing ones do but would draw power from a built-in connector running along the side of the cover.
Apple has several patents floating around and whether this one will ever develop into an actual product is anyone's guess. It could make for a nice way to draw input into an iPad maybe eliminating the need of always using a desktop in conjunction with accessories like Bamboo pads. It'd be much easier to carry around and create content on the go.
If something like this does come to market how many of you would be interested in picking one up?