Apple granted new patent that reimagines the iPhone case, complete with keyboard

iPhone case patent drawing
iPhone case patent drawing (Image credit: 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?

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.