Apple considers touch-sensitive iPad case

Apple has applied for a patent on obtaining an extra display, possibly with touch input, constructed into a versatile cover for the iPad.

The application was filed final year but has only just been made public by the US Patent &amp Trademark Office. It appears to be an enhanced version of the style employed for the optional cover with the third generation iPad which operates like a plastic folder for the device and puts it into standby when closed.

The design places “thin flexible display technology” into the inside face of the cover, which Apple notes could add functionality with out making the iPad any bulkier or considerably heavier.

The key to the technology is a magnetic hinge that not only holds the iPad in location in the situation, but also supplies power from the iPad to the case, as effectively as housing a data connector.

Precisely what Apple would use this for is somewhat vague in the patent filing, with a range of various tips put forward. The simplest are that the additional display could property an ‘overspill’ of app icons from the principal screen, or that it could act as a type of notification bar when the user is operating an app in full-screen mode.

Much more ambitious ideas are that it could incorporate touch recognition and be employed as a manage panel for operating media playback, a virtual keypad, or could even perform as a graphic panel with a stylus.

It’s important to bear in mind that this is only a patent application and that there’s no guarantee Apple will ever release. Indeed, provided the design and suggested utilizes are so general, it could basically be a case of taking an “obvious” development and sticking in a patent application just to be on the safe side.

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