Apple wants its iPad Smart Cover to becomes smarter and light up and tell users when they have new messages, the battery's low or other warnings.
Apple filed for a patent for an illuminated iPad Smart Cover which would produce lit up notifications and warnings to inform users of new email, messages or a low battery, according to AppleInsider. Essentially, the Smart Cover will no longer just protect the iPad, but be an "Integrated visual notification system in an accessory device."
The new cover would use low-powered illuminations such as LEDs to provide the notifications, and likely be connected to the tablet with some electric contact and a sensor that would let users know if it's in place. That means it will also likely to have to be charged along with the iPad. The notifications wouldn't necessarily be words, but may also be simply symbols or shapes. The alert may also be placed on the cover based on importance. For instance, an urgent message may be near the top of the cover, and a lesser one near the bottom.
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The patent didn't give any date it could be available, but we would guess it would be when the next iPad incarnation is released.