Apple Researching iPad Smart Covers with Secondary Displays, Keyboards, Solar Cells

MacRumors

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Apr 12, 2001
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Engadget points to a newly-filed patent application from Apple showing ideas for a significantly enhanced iPad Smart Cover that could contain such features as a secondary display, a keyboard, and power collectors in the form of solar cells or RF energy antennas.
An accessory device that is arranged to communicate with a host device by way of a communication channel is claimed. The host device includes a host device display arranged to present visual information. The accessory device includes the following: a flexible flap having a size and shape in accordance with the host device display, where 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 where at least some of the information is presented visually on the flap display.

In one example, Apple shows how secondary displays integrated into the Smart Cover could offer a mini home screen alongside the primary screen or be used to display information to others while folded into its stand configuration. The displays could draw power and transmit data from a connector alongside the Smart Cover hinge or rely on embedded solar cells or RF energy antennas for power needs.


Apple also proposes to use the Smart Cover's surface as a keyboard with a touch section for customizable virtual keys. The keyboard is in some ways similar to the cover keyboard Microsoft has demonstrated for its upcoming Surface tablet.


Finally, Apple shows how embedded e-paper displays on the exterior of the Smart Cover could offer information such as notifications and reminders without requiring the user to open the cover and turn on the device. Apple could also integrate a section that would allow users to quickly scribble their own notes on the cover.


The patent application was filed in August 2011 and is credited to Apple design engineer Fletcher Rothkopf, who now serves as a manager in the company's product design division.

Article Link: Apple Researching iPad Smart Covers with Secondary Displays, Keyboards, Solar Cells
 

azentropy

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Jul 19, 2002
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[url=http://cdn.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogodarkd.png]Image[/url]


Engadget points to a newly-filed patent application from Apple showing ideas for a significantly enhanced iPad Smart Cover that could contain such features as a secondary display, a keyboard, and power collectors in the form of solar cells or RF energy antennas.Image


In one example, Apple shows how secondary displays integrated into the Smart Cover could offer a mini home screen alongside the primary screen or be used to display information to others while folded into its stand configuration. The displays could draw power and transmit data from a connector alongside the Smart Cover hinge or rely on embedded solar cells or RF energy antennas for power needs.

Image


Apple also proposes to use the Smart Cover's surface as a keyboard with a touch section for customizable virtual keys. The keyboard is in some ways similar to the cover keyboard Microsoft has demonstrated for its upcoming Surface tablet.

Image


Finally, Apple shows how embedded e-paper displays on the exterior of the Smart Cover could offer information such as notifications and reminders without requiring the user to open the cover and turn on the device. Apple could also integrate a section that would allow users to quickly scribble their own notes on the cover.

Image


The patent application was filed in August 2011 and is credited to Apple design engineer Fletcher Rothkopf, who now serves as a manager in the company's product design division.

Article Link: Apple Researching iPad Smart Covers with Secondary Displays, Keyboards, Solar Cells
Cool. Then I'll need a smart cover to protect my smart cover!
 

Kaibelf

Suspended
Apr 29, 2009
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Before anyone whines about how the Surface has a cover with a keyboard, from everything I've seen, that cover doesn't fold into the triangle - it stays flat.
 

Elven

macrumors 6502a
May 13, 2008
860
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I really hope this comes out for the iPad3 and does not eventually get released as an iPad 4 only item.
 

shawnwich

macrumors 6502
Oct 4, 2007
368
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Houston, TX
I really hope this comes out for the iPad3 and does not eventually get released as an iPad 4 only item.

They're talking about transmitting data through the smart cover hinge - from the breakdowns and exterior of the new iPad, it's pretty clear there is nothing there to transmit data through that hinge.
 

h1r0ll3r

macrumors 68040
Dec 28, 2009
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That would be pretty cool to have. Being Apple, I'm guessing the price for that thing would be around $100 or so for all that. And yeah, I'd still probably buy it.
 

applesith

macrumors 68030
Jun 11, 2007
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Wasn't there a rumor (I mean well informed analyst prediction) about Apple offering a new type of case/cover for the upcoming iPhone? If so, maybe something like this is coming!
 

mscriv

macrumors 601
Aug 14, 2008
4,913
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Dallas, Texas
I must say that when I saw the Microsoft cover with a built in keyboard that I thought that was a brilliant idea. I know we have 3rd party covers with keyboards in them for the iPad, but not built into the cover itself like the one Microsoft created.
 

Menel

macrumors 603
Aug 4, 2011
6,202
1,057
That would be pretty cool to have. Being Apple, I'm guessing the price for that thing would be around $100 or so for all that. And yeah, I'd still probably buy it.
Current cover is already $69.

What you're looking at is a $299 cover.
 

MacHiavelli

macrumors 65816
May 17, 2007
1,112
636
new york
The more they add to the iPad, the closer it gets to being a MBA-like device with a detachable keyboard/power supply/magic cover/etc.

I have an iPad (3) and am underwhelmed by it: not as powerful as an Air, not small enough to be convenient to carry around, slow and handicapped by the limitations of iOS.

I use it a lot (I own it so I might as well use it), but think it is a flawed device.

For me, a MBA and pocket-sized iPad with a useable file system and multi-user accounts would hit the sweet spot.

Oh, and one with 4G that works outside of a handful of countries. I bought my "4G" in the UK and was told twice by Apple Store staff that it would work with UK 4G. Apple's customer service for the iPad 3 has been lamentable.
 

charlituna

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Jun 11, 2008
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j-a-x

macrumors 65816
Apr 15, 2005
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Houston, Texas
So if this was filed in 2011, does this mean Apple thought of the idea of a Smart Cover with a keyboard built into it before MS demoed it? If that is the case, then the only unique feature about the Surface tablet (the keyboard built into the Smart Cover clone) is not really that unique.