Apple has today received the patent for a “flexible display of dockable cover” from the USPTO (US organ responsible for patents and trademarks). The document describes a cover for iPads that would give devices a second screen, with several folding tabs, each of which could show different data.
According to the company’s description, the second screen present on the cover could be used for various functions. Firstly, it could serve to show traditional notifications, with each of the tabs being devoted to notifications of a type (applications, reminders, agenda, etc.). It would still be possible that part of the second screen space was dedicated to solar panels, as the image below illustrates:
Another possibility would be to use the cover display as a kind of scanning table: a surface on which users could draw to interact with the IPad. Users could use this cover in combination with Apple Pencil for graphic design designs or illustrations. In the document forwarded to the USPTO, Apple still shows the cover connecting to the IPad through an interface similar to the smart Connector used by the company’s smart Keyboard.
According to computerGees, this patent would allow Apple to increase the functionality of the tablets without increasing its size. “Manufacturers usually choose between making the display (and hence the device) larger (…) Or make the smaller device and display resulting in a less functional appliance. None of these solutions are desirable, “the company says in the document.
It is worth remembering, however, that the fact that the Apple have received the patent does not necessarily mean that it will develop the technology until it becomes a commercial product. Other company patents that have not yet come out of the paper include a “foldable iPhone” and a control interface by gestures for smart phones.