A patent application filed with the USPTO has emerged today hinting at a new kind of accessory for Apple’s iPad that bears a flexible display powered by sunlight. Not impossible, but certainly not just around the corner either.
In its filing with the USPTO, Apple acknowledges that recent advances in portable computing have made it possible to design and develop “hand held electronic devices and computing platforms known generically as tablet devices” – in short, the iPad.
“These devices can be used for any number of tasks including word processing, social media networking, video conferencing, and gaming,” the company explains.
Despite of allowing a flurry of tasks to be performed on its large display, the overall functionality of an iPad “still has room for improvement,” the perfectionists at 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA, believe.
“For example, increasing the display area could lead to a significant expansion in functionality,” reads the patent application.
However, “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,” reads the filing.
Apple believes that neither solution works, and the solution is most likely “a way to extend the usability and functionality of a tablet device without making it any larger.”
Enter the “Cover Attachment with Flexible Display,” which includes “a flexible flap with a size and shape in accordance with the host device display, where at least a portion of the flexible flap is covered by a flap display configured to present visual information.”
Another aspect of the invention is the connecting portion, which Apple envisions to be “arranged to provide at least a communication channel arranged to convey information between the host device and the accessory device where at least some of the information is presented visually on the flap display.”
And the lifespan of a built-in battery can be augmented by an auxiliary power supply such as a solar panel array, the document states.
To see the full patent application, including imagery, visit the USPTO here
. As usual, don’t get your hopes up for this to see the light of day any soon. Numerous patent applications actually never materialize.