The US Patent & Trademark Office has published a new patent application from Apple which shows an all-new iPad Smart Cover, that has been designed to double as a multi-touch gesture keyboard eliminating the need for a touchpad, PatentlyApple reports. The new Smart Cover has an interior surface that attaches to a rear surface of the iPad and to the rear surface of a keyboard that communicates with the iPad.
The above two figures show a perspective illustration of the new iPad Smart Cover with an attached keyboard as well as an illustration of a standing configuration for the cover. The filing notes that keyboard aspect of the smart cover will communicate with the iPad wirelessly, most probably over Bluetooth. Also, the keyboard may be a multi-touch keyboard with a transparent or semitransparent touch sensitive panel, allowing it to receive both keyboard input and touch input.
“A first lateral hinge in the cover will allow the cover to fold such that a first end of the cover rotates about the first lateral hinge from an extended position towards a centerline of the cover; a second lateral hinge in the cover that allows the cover to fold such that a second end of the cover rotates about the second lateral hinge from an extended position towards the centerline of the cover; and a closure configured to disable the keyboard when a first closure component disposed on the first end of the cover meets a second closure component disposed on the second end of the cover, the first and second closure components configured to meet substantially at the centerline of the cover when the cover is folded about the first and second lateral hinges.”
Apple credits John Elias as the sole inventor of this patent application, which was originally filed in 2012.