Apple is about to make its famous iPad Smart Cover evening smarter. The USPTO has published a patent today, which was submitted by Apple in August 2011. The patent is listed as – Cover Attachment with Flexible Display.
Recent advances in portable computing include the introduction of hand held electronic devices and computing platforms known generically as tablet devices. These devices can be used for any number of tasks including word processing, social media networking, video conferencing, and gaming. Although this type of device allows an extensive variety of tasks to be performed, the overall functionality of this device type still has room for improvement. For example, 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.
The paper describes many embodiments that relate to a method, apparatus, and, computer readable medium for extending the functionality of a tablet device to an accessory device with a flexible display.
An accessory device that is arranged to communicate with a host device by way of a communication channel is claimed. The host device includes a host device display arranged to present visual information. The accessory device includes the following: a flexible flap having 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; and a connecting portion, the connecting portion 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.
A method for passing information between a flexible accessory device and a host device is claimed. The flexible accessory device has a flexible display arranged to present a first set of visual information. The host device has a host device display arranged to present a second set of visual information. The method includes the following steps: (1) establishing a communication channel between the flexible accessory device and the host device, the communication channel arranged to provide a bi-directional communication link between the flexible display and the host device; (2) passing information between the host device and the flexible accessory device by way of the bi-directional communication link, where at least a portion of the passed information is presented by the flexible display as the first set of visual information; and (4) displaying the first set of visual information on the flexible display.