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Apple patent iPad Cover With its own flexible display

Apple's patents should never really be taken as proof of upcoming product announcements, but they're always a fun way to get your mind thinking about what couldbe. Take this latest one, for example: officially granted today, the patent for a "cover attachment with flexible display" imagines a futuristic iPad cover with its own display spread across the folding panels. This could be used for any number of things, according to Apple's drawings.

The first integration of a next-generation Smart Cover lies in video playback, where a user could watch a video with the cover folded up into a triangle like Apple's current Smart Covers allow, but now supporting a set of touch-sensitive areas for play, pause, fast forward, and rewind controls. Although the user would not be able to directly see where they were pressing down, "the size and location of the touch sensitive areas can allow for a user to easily learn the locations after a short familiarization period," according to the patent.

The patent does, though, indicate that Apple changed its mind on one point.
Increasing the display area could lead to a significant expansion in functionality. Unfortunately, since displays already dominate a majority of one side of tablet devices, device manufacturers generally choose between making the display and therefore the device itself larger, thereby reducing the portability or making the device and display smaller with the result of a less functional device. Neither solution is desirable; therefore a way to extend the usability and functionality of a tablet device without making it any larger is desired.

Apple did, of course, go ahead and make a tablet with a larger display in the form of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.