Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s key accessory for the iPad is about to get an update users will love. A new patent application shows a Smart Cover with communication and illumination elements that light up to alert users of incoming messages.
A look at Apple’s filing
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s filing is titled, “Integrate visual notification system in an accessory device. This is highlighted as a hardware product that is both a screen protector and active alert device. iPad users tend to use tablet covers to protect the device’s screen, and although Apple’s Smart Cover is a popular accessory, the cover obscures the screen thanks to the multiple layers.
Apple’s patent shows a Smart Cover accessory that features low-power illumination elements (either electroluminescent panels or LEDs) to display alerts when closed. Some embodiments to the cover would be connected to the tablet through electric contacts or a MagSafe cable. Alternative solutions could also include wireless protocols like Bluetooth or inductive charging methods. Another form shows a flexible cover with clear portions in specific patterns that allow light from the tablet’s display to show from below. This passive design does not need a connector because all the illumination comes from the device itself.
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Unique features for the iPad case
Both the active and passive cover options were made to transmit notifications with shapes, words or symbols. The embedded component design allows for the iPad to control a signal to the accessory with an output the right illuminated notification symbol. The passive version would also rely on the iPad to illuminate specific portions of the screen based on a layout of transparent areas.
The priority of the alert will determine where the visual notification appears. If an important email shows up, a letter-shaped icon will illuminate at the top and a less important email icon may illuminate at the bottom. There could also be a Hall sensor similar to that currently employed on current iPad models. This determines whether or not the cover is in place and whether to activate or deactivate the system.