Last year, Apple filed an application with the US Patent and Trademark Office that the USPTO today made available to the public. The patent is for a beefed-up Smart Cover that would feature a small, flexible, secondary display in one or more panels of the smart cover to augment the display (room for extra icons), control media content on the iPad, or display notifications.
One of the patent drawings shows the full inner section of the Smart Cover being used as a keyboard, similar to Microsoft’s Surface case concept they unveiled in June. Apple’s Smart Cover would be a virtual keyboard as opposed to Microsoft’s hardware keyboard case, but the end result is the same; freed up real estate so you have more room to see whatever it is that you’re working on.
As with all patent filings, Apple’s dream for a new Smart Cover may never come to fruition, and time will tell if such a model is ever released to the general public.