Former Apple Developer Relations employee and industry analyst Jamie Ryan claims Apple has been testing Microsoft Touch Cover–like keyboard cases, which could arrive alongside the release of the iPad 5 (via Gizmodo).
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.
Apple already sells a Bluetooth keyboard that is compatible with the iPad, but isn’t as integrated with the tablet as the Microsoft Touch Cover. Tim Cook has announced that Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iMovie, and iPhoto are available as a free download. This move appears to be part of the company’s push to increase such productivity on the iPad. A case with integrated keyboard designed for the full-sized models could be a differentiator between the two models and also boost the creative work on the tablet.
As Ryan emphasizes, the tested keyboard cases are just prototypes, so they could yet suffer the same fate many other Apple product prototypes have: to never leave the labs. However, Apple already has a couple of patents with enhanced Smart Covers that include multiple features, keyboard included, so we could see such a product in the near future.
Apple will hold a special event tomorrow, Tuesday, October 22, where it is widely expected to reveal multiple products, such as the iPad 5, the second-generation iPad mini, and the new MacBook Pros with Haswell processors, a tweaked Apple TV, and Mavericks, the new desktop operating system.