Apple rumored to have prototyped Surface-style keyboard covers for iPad

The "lots more to cover" tag line on Apple's October 22 event invitations have lead many to speculate about updated Smart Covers in general, and Logitech/Microsoft Surface style keyboard covers in specific. Apple has tossed out patent applications for such things in the past, of course, and it's one of the more popular third-party and competitive features. So, prototyping an Apple version that would enjoy better and deeper integration is no surprise. Jamie Ryan:

I've been speaking to a couple of people at Apple for the last few days and they have told me that a case for the full size iPad that mimics Microsofts touch cover has been prototyped. It's not clear whether the process is far enough along to make this Tuesdays event but they did say a few different styles had been in testing for a while. [...] It's not just keyboards either. I'm told other cover like accessories are also being looked at.

There are always last minute rumors before an Apple event, some cool, some flat out crazy. Apple did produce a keyboard stand for the original iPad, which was simply their existing Mac keyboard with a 30-pin Dock connector and base and some customized keys. All iPads are still compatible with the existing Mac Bluetooth keyboard, although it has no customized keys and requires something like the third-party Origami case to provide any physical integration.

Unless Apple cancels the Smart Covers, they'll have to update them for the new iPad 5 form factor anyway. I use the Logitech keyboard cover and like it a bunch, so do many other people I know. An Apple branded, Apple integrated version would be great. It's one of the few things I like about Microsoft's Surface. So, I'd be all over this if it turns out to be real.

If the information above is accurate, the only questions are, has Apple taken it/them out of prototype and put it/them into production, and did they do it in time for the October 22 event?

Source: Jamie Ryan via Gizmodo

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.