Documents made public on Thursday showed that Apple has applied for a patent on iPad Smart Cover with an embedded secondary display designed to enhance the functionality of the tablet computer.
"A tablet device with a flexible cover is disclosed. Thin flexible display technology can be integrated into the flexible cover without affecting the overall form factor of the cover or tablet device. Adding the integrated display to the flexible cover greatly enhances the overall functionality of the tablet device," said Apple in a patent application released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
According to the file, at least one portion of the future Smart Cover's flexible flap will take power and data from a connector on the side of the iPad and present visual information.
The embedded display could be used to show some extra icons, operate as a separate media control interface or display notifications, said Apple in the file.
Resembling Microsoft's new Surface tablet cover that has a keyboard, parts of Apple's flexible flap in the future may also include a keyboard or serve as a separate touch pad to bring the tablet experience closer to a conventional laptop computer.
As always, patents like the new Smart Cover can offer a glimpse into Apple's ideas for its products in the future, although they don't always lead to a final product.