New Apple patent describes an iPad Smart Cover with a flexible screen

apples ipad smart cover patent looks to bend the rules for displays apple feature
Did you think Apple’s iPad Smart Cover was the pinnacle of the Cupertino, California, company’s accessorial ingenuity? Not quite, if a new patent’s any indication. Today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark office approved Apple’s filing for a “cover attachment with flexible display” — basically, a next-gen Smart Cover with a built-in screen.

Though a “cover attachment” may sound mundane on the surface, Apple’s patent describes something genuinely innovative: a bendable display that acts as a sort of digital extension of the iPad to which it’s attached. The theoretical Smart Cover could support Wacom-style styluses for the purpose of scribbling and doodling, Apple notes, and might even be used to accommodate app interfaces that stretch beyond the iPad’s display. The company envisions notifications and reminders appearing in the cover’s top-right corner, for instance, and multimedia playback controls summoned by on-screen videos and music.

One thing’s for certain, of course: such a cover would require a heck of a lot more juice than the current, screen-less crop of Smart Covers. Apple’s solution? A beefed-up, four-pin variant of the iPad’s Smart Connector accessory, and a number of energy-saving steps to mitigate the increased power draw. Apple proposes an AMOLED display that shuts off pixels not in use, a small battery that recharges independent of an iPad, and even an integrated array of solar panels.

Patents, of course, remain firmly in the theoretical realm; there’s no telling when, if ever, a bendable iPad Smart Cover will hit Apple Store shelves. But scientifically speaking, such a cover’s well within the realm of possibility — Samsung’s planning to commercialize foldable displays as soon as 2017, and LG’s expected to follow suit. The screens expected to feature in new tablets and smartphones, mainly, but there’s no technological reason they couldn’t appear in an iPad cover. Here’s hoping Apple feels the same.

Product Review

The Xperia 10 Plus feels great in your hand, but you'll still want to put it down

There has never been a better time to buy a smartphone with an unusual design, and one of the cheaper models out there vying for your attention is the Sony Xperia 10 Plus, with its 21:9 aspect ratio screen.

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for April 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for April 2018.

Add style and functionality with the best iPad Pro 9.7 cases

No tablet should be without protection, especially an expensive one. Check out our picks for the best iPad Pro 9.7 cases, so you can add some protection, functionality, and style to your new device.

LG reportedly files patent for triple selfie camera on smartphone

LG has reportedly filed a patent for a smartphone with three front-facing cameras. However, if the patent turns out to be true, it may come down as just another gimmick for the struggling mobile phone manufacturer.

You've spent a grand, now don't skimp on a screen protector for your iPhone X

Wondering how to protect your new iPhone X against scratches and drops? Look no further than our list of the best iPhone X screen protectors, which includes screen protectors designed to reinforce your phone's front panel.

The 15 most stylish iPhone docks and charging stands for your device

The right iPhone dock does more than just hold your phone. If you’re looking for the perfect dock for your bedroom, or one to sit discretely on your office desk, there’s a good chance you’ll find it here.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robots that eat landmines and clean your floors

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!

How to save yourself money by buying a refurbished iPhone

There’s a lot to consider when you’re looking for a new iPhone, and it can be very expensive. Save yourself some heartache and some money with our guide on how to buy a refurbished iPhone.

BlackBerry Messenger to shut down in May, be replaced by enterprise version

BlackBerry Messenger for consumers will shut down at the end of May, nearly six years after it was launched. The app is going back to its roots, in a way, as it is being replaced by the much simpler BlackBerry Messenger Enterprise.

Apple Watch Series 3 and Samsung Gear S3 smartwatches get big price cuts

The Apple Watch Series 3 and Samsung Gear S3 are at some of the lowest prices we've seen since so far this year. With discounts from Amazon and Walmart, now is a great time to find spring savings on wearables.

These are the key settings to change on the LG G8 ThinQ smartphone

The LG G8 ThinQ is finally available. There are a lot of settings turned off by default that may be useful in improving the experience of using the phone. We've rounded up 11 key settings for you to change on the G8.

Best iPhone 7 Plus screen protectors to shield your big, beautiful display

Cracked screens are expensive to replace. Fortunately for you, we've rounded up what's available in terms of protection for Apple's large iPhone 7 Plus. Here are the best screen protectors you can buy.

Samsung says the Galaxy Fold needs more improvements before it's released

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has arrived, and it goes on sale soon. Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.

Amazon cuts prices on Apple Watch Series 4 and Series 3 smartwatches

In the market for a new smartwatch? The Apple Watch is the best one, and right now it's a little more affordable than it usually is. The Apple Watch Series 4 and Apple Watch Series 3 are both available at discounted prices straight from…