Apple’s iPad Smart Cover could one day have a display that shows notifications

Apple may be looking into making the iPad Pro’s Smart Cover even smarter. Apple has filed a patent for a Smart Cover that will keep users up to date with alerts for things like notifications. What that means is that you won’t even have to open the cover to keep current with your notifications.

The patent application shows this is something Apple has been working on for some time — this is a continuation of several patents dating back to 2012.

In the patent, it’s clear that this new Smart Cover would take a similar form to the standard smart cover. In other words, it will be built to protect the iPad and will include a tri-fold form factor. On top of that, however, it could have both active and passive portions to it for displaying things like notifications. Active portions to the display would basically incorporate low-power elements like small LED displays to provide alerts.

The cover could also take a slightly more passive approach. In that instance, the cover would basically have transparent portions that would show parts of the iPad’s actual display. When the cover is closed, the iPad would show notifications through those transparent portions.

There’s also a hybrid version of the Smart Cover — which could have both LED displays and transparent sections to show other information.

The patent also highlights treating different notifications differently. When using the transparent Smart Cover, for example, an email marked as important could show at the top of the notifications panel, while less important notifications could show lower down.

As is always the case with an Apple patent, there’s no indication of when this kind of Smart Cover will make it to market — or if it’ll ever be available at all. Apple and other tech companies routinely file for patents that they never end up using. Still, this does show that Apple is working on ways to make its accessories a little more functional, which could end up being very helpful for the people who use these accessories. As mentioned, Apple first filed a patent for the tech in 2012, but it has clearly been looking into the idea since then.

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