iPhone case patent drawingSource: Cult of Mac

What you need to know

  • A new Apple patent points to a new kind of iPhone case.
  • The case could be used as both a handle and a stand.
  • There are provisions for a projected keyboard, too.

The world of iPhone cases is filled with a raft of options that all basically look identical. They're all pieces of rubber, plastic, or metal that an iPhone slips into and that's all there is to it. But a newly granted Apple patent reimagines what a case can be and it looks interesting to say the very least.

The patent, called "Peripheral housing for a computing device" and spotted by Cult of Mac, suggests a sort of squared circle affair that would slip around the outside of an iPhone. The frame would connect to the iPhone via a hinge on one side which would allow it to be swung open. That way it could be used as a stand or, if you're so inclined, some form of carry handle.

But it's the suggestion that it could also project a virtual keyboard that has me most interested.

An image of a keyboard 410 can be projected interior to the aperture of the peripheral housing 403, for example, onto a surface on which the peripheral housing 403 is located. Components within the peripheral housing 403 can detect when, for example, a user touches a projected image of a keyboard key and register this action as an input.

That alone would be enough to make this a must-buy, especially if scaled up to fit an iPad or iPad Pro.

As always we need to remember that not all Apple patents make their way into a product that ships to the public. Whether this particular patent will be one of the lucky ones, I don't know. But I can hope, right?