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Apple's smarter Smart Cover would keep users up to date with illuminated alerts

post #1 of 57
Thread Starter 
An Apple patent application published on Thursday describes an advanced iPad Smart Cover containing illumination and communication elements that light up to alert users to incoming messages, low battery warnings and other notifications.



As published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple's filing for an "Integrated visual notification system in an accessory device" outlines a hardware product that serves as both a screen protector and active alert device.

In many cases, iPad users rely on some type of covering to protect their tablets' massive glass screens. Products like Apple's tri-fold Smart Cover are popular add-ons to iPad purchases, but the accessories obscure the screen when closed due to the multiple layers of material needed to protect from bumps and scratches.


Source: USPTO


What Apple proposes is an accessory that shares the same format as current Smart Covers, but incorporates low-power illumination elements like LEDs or electroluminescent panels to provide alerts when closed. The cover would, in some embodiments, be connected to the tablet via a MagSafe cable or electric contacts that power and control the lighting components. Alternatively, inductive charging methods and wireless protocols like Bluetooth can be deployed instead of a hardwired solution.

In another form, the flexible cover would have translucent portions disposed in specific patterns, allowing light from the iPad's display to shine through from below. This passive design does not require a connector as all processing and illumination duties are handled by the device.

Both the active and passive cover types are designed to transmit notifications to the user via shapes, symbols or words. With the embedded component design, the iPad communicates a control signal to the accessory, which then outputs an appropriate illuminated notification visible to the user. The passive format relies on the iPad to illuminate specific portions of its screen based on a known layout of transparent areas on the cover, which in turn transmits the appropriate visual message.



Depending on the priority of the alert, the visual notification can appear on different portions of the cover. For example, if an incoming email is marked "important," a letter-shaped icon may illuminate on a segment near the top of the cover, while a less urgent text message can be displayed near the bottom of the tablet.

A Hall sensor, much like those employed on current iPads, determines whether the cover is in place and based on this input activates or disables the alert system. To dismiss an alert, Apple points to existing hardware controls like the power or volume buttons, both of which are still easily accessible to the user when a Smart Cover is in place.

Finally, a hybrid system is imagined where rows of LEDs or electroluminescent panels are disposed among patterns and cutouts in the cover having varying transparency. The illuminated sections can even be used during normal operation, perhaps as a countdown timer as seen in the illustration below.



Like all Apple patents, it is unknown when such an accessory will hit the market, if at all. The idea is novel and would be useful to iPad owners who always hand-carry their tablet, though the feature would be a drain on battery life.

Apple has dabbled in advanced Smart Cover designs in the past, including "peek mode" technology and hardware with full-blown integrated keyboards, though none of the prior inventions have made their way to market.

Apple's illuminated Smart Cover patent application was first filed for in 2012 and credits Jared Sartee and Justin Wodrich as its inventors.
post #2 of 57
Simply ingenious!

Can't innovate my ass... Go Apple.
post #3 of 57

Seems a bit excessive to me, but hey ho.

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post #4 of 57
I like how Apple continues to think about to advance its current technologies to be ever more useful.
post #5 of 57
Want one for my 5.5" iPhone. ;D
post #6 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post

Simply ingenious!

Can't innovate my ass... Go Apple.

Look like iteration to me http://www.htc.com/uk/accessories/htc-dot-view/ sure apples method has more to (a lot more to it) it but I bet they saw that case and thought we got to do that.

 

post #7 of 57
If Apple thinks notification is an important feature why doesn't it put a simple notification LED on its devices in the first place?

Pretty much all Android devices have an LED that uses different colors and brinking patterns to indicate notifications from different apps. That's a neat feature I hope Apple would copy.
post #8 of 57
post #9 of 57
post #10 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecnerwal View Post

If Apple thinks notification is an important feature why doesn't it put a simple notification LED on its devices in the first place?

Pretty much all Android devices have an LED that uses different colors and brinking patterns to indicate notifications from different apps. That's a neat feature I hope Apple would copy.

Agree for me too, my work phone is android... I like the blinking lights colors etc for status. My iPhone have to get up and press the button to see status.
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post #11 of 57
Haha. First thing I thought of was that screen protector designers love covering up electronics. Someone is already busy coming up with another cover for these possibilities.
post #12 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post

Simply ingenious!

Can't innovate my ass... Go Apple.

More like improving HTC's innovation.

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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
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post #13 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post



More like improving HTC's innovation.



 


Who Copied Whom ? The patent is not recent and was produced long before HTC or Samesung implemented theirs.
post #14 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post

Simply ingenious!

Can't innovate my ass... Go Apple.
Remind me what product we can buy that is utilizing this? Let's applaud when we actually see it in a product for sale.
post #15 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by smiffy31 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post



More like improving HTC's innovation.



 


Who Copied Whom ? The patent is not recent and was produced long before HTC or Samesung implemented theirs.

And can you tell me when HTC came up with the idea?
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
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post #16 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecnerwal View Post

If Apple thinks notification is an important feature why doesn't it put a simple notification LED on its devices in the first place?

Pretty much all Android devices have an LED that uses different colors and brinking patterns to indicate notifications from different apps. That's a neat feature I hope Apple would copy.
I prefer not such a thing, I like the idea all is on the onboard screen, but of course there is the option to use the camera Led for such a thing.
post #17 of 57
Does this mean I'd have to get a cover to protect my cover?
post #18 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecnerwal View Post

If Apple thinks notification is an important feature why doesn't it put a simple notification LED on its devices in the first place?

Pretty much all Android devices have an LED that uses different colors and brinking patterns to indicate notifications from different apps. That's a neat feature I hope Apple would copy.

 

Another annoying "feature" I get to turn off just because some Fandroid thinks it's great for no other reason than it's not on an iPhone.

post #19 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curtis Hannah View Post


I prefer not such a thing, I like the idea all is on the onboard screen, but of course there is the option to use the camera Led for such a thing.

 

It would be nice if the iPhone and iPad screens would display an indicator in the status bar when the side switch is moved and silent mode is activated.

post #20 of 57
Originally Posted by ecnerwal View Post
If Apple thinks notification is an important feature why doesn't it put a simple notification LED on its devices in the first place?

 

Yeah, you don’t comprehend the article at all.

 
Pretty much all Android devices have an LED that uses different colors and brinking patterns to indicate notifications from different apps. That's a neat feature I hope Apple would copy.

 

YEAH, THAT’S A GREAT IDEA. FORCE USERS TO MEMORIZE COMPLEX STRINGS OF COLORS AND PATTERNS.

 

INSTEAD OF JUST SHOWING THEM THE INFORMATION THEY WANT TO SEE IN A HUMAN-READABLE FORMAT.

 

LIKE APPLE ALREADY DOES.

 

SPECTACULAR PLAN. GREAT GOING, GOOGLE.

 

It’s not 1975 anymore. Blinkenlights are for idiots.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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post #21 of 57
Grow up TS. Apple don't have any active notification messaging beyond the initial chime. If your screen is off, the only way to know there's anything waiting is to turn it on. Android devices with a notification LED are superior in that regard as of today.

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post #22 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post

Simply ingenious!

Can't innovate my ass... Go Apple.

Unfortunately this is just a copy of the HTC M8 dot view case that most people on here slated (but now it's suddenly a good idea).

post #23 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

And can you tell me when HTC came up with the idea?

 

Apple has shown us time and time again that who came up with an idea is irrelevant.  It's he who holds the patent to the technology that holds the power.  It's then up to the patent holder to decide if they want to use it aggressively.  If I were HTC I would be a little nervous right now.

post #24 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by DroidFTW View Post

Apple has shown us time and time again that who came up with an idea is irrelevant.  It's he who holds the patent to the technology that holds the power.  It's then up to the patent holder to decide if they want to use it aggressively.  If I were HTC I would be a little nervous right now.

Could be that it's part of their license deal. I just find it funny how it was poo-pooed when HTC released it, but now it's the 8th wonder of the world now that it's Apple's idea.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #25 of 57
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post
Grow up TS.

 

That’s funny. I’ll have to remember to say that to you the next time you post something truthful.

 
Apple don't have any active notification messaging beyond the initial chime. 

 

Uh… huh… :wow:

 

If your screen is off, the only way to know there's anything waiting is to turn it on. 

 

Which it does automatically.

 
Android devices with a notification LED are superior in that regard as of today.

 

Again, no, for the reasons stated above.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #26 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

That’s funny. I’ll have to remember to say that to you the next time you post something truthful.

 

Uh… huh… :wow:

 

Which it does automatically.

 

Again, no, for the reasons stated above.

No, you are wrong.  After the initial chime and screen pop up the screen turns back off and there is no way to subsequently know that there is any notification without turning the screen on (slight exception for SMS, iMessages, and calendar alerts which give a second chime).  You are wrong, wrong, wrong.  Many other phones compensate by having an LED to illuminate the waiting notifications, but the iPhone does not.  If you miss the chime then your phone screen turns back off and you need to turn it on to know anything happened.  Whether or not you think that LED is a good solution, the iPhone has no lasting solution to that issue, so the LED is superior.

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post #27 of 57
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post
No, you are wrong.

 

Nope.

 
After the initial chime and screen pop up the screen turns back off and there is no way to subsequently know that there is any notification without turning the screen on.

 

By design. Because it’s a waste of energy otherwise.

 
Whether or not you think that LED is a good solution, the iPhone has no lasting solution to that issue, so the LED is superior.

 

Apple doesn’t want a “lasting” solution.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #28 of 57

The biggest concern is always battery life, because now it would be powering an accessory, which makes sense on an ipad with a bigger battery but not an iphone. I wouldn't mind a smart cover on the iphone though. I like the auto wake sleep on the cover.

post #29 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post
 

 

You then follow this sentence with, "Apple don't have any active notification messaging beyond the initial chime. If your screen is off, the only way to know there's anything waiting is to turn it on."

 

​Your second sentence here contradicts the first. If Apple notifies you with a chime, then that is letting you know that there's something waiting without turning on your screen. That is one example of your lack of clarity.

 

The iPhone and iPad are portable devices, which Apple would reasonably expect you to have with you most of the time. Therefore, they consider one notification to be enough. What's more, to keep repeating notifications would drain the battery and quickly annoy.

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post #30 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post



You then follow this sentence with, "Apple don't have any active notification messaging beyond the initial chime. If your screen is off, the only way to know there's anything waiting is to turn it on."

​Your second sentence here contradicts the first. If Apple notifies you with a chime, then that is letting you know that there's something waiting without turning on your screen. That is one example of your lack of clarity.

The iPhone and iPad are portable devices, which Apple would reasonably expect you to have with you most of the time. Therefore, they consider one notification to be enough. What's more, to keep repeating notifications would drain the battery and quickly annoy.

There is no contradiction in what he wrote. He said there is no notification after the initial chime, and in order to find out about missed notifications in the case that you miss the initial chime you have to turn on the display. That solution is not elegant because by repeatedly turning on the display to discover any missed notifications you drain a lot of battery.

Android phones have gotten around this problem with the notification LED and even more advanced solutions like the Active Display on the Moto X.
post #31 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakefinance View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post



You then follow this sentence with, "Apple don't have any active notification messaging beyond the initial chime. If your screen is off, the only way to know there's anything waiting is to turn it on."

​Your second sentence here contradicts the first. If Apple notifies you with a chime, then that is letting you know that there's something waiting without turning on your screen. That is one example of your lack of clarity.

The iPhone and iPad are portable devices, which Apple would reasonably expect you to have with you most of the time. Therefore, they consider one notification to be enough. What's more, to keep repeating notifications would drain the battery and quickly annoy.

There is no contradiction in what he wrote. He said there is no notification after the initial chime, and in order to find out about missed notifications in the case that you miss the initial chime you have to turn on the display. That solution is not elegant because by repeatedly turning on the display to discover any missed notifications you drain a lot of battery.

Android phones have gotten around this problem with the notification LED and even more advanced solutions like the Active Display on the Moto X.

No. Why would you need to repeatedly turn on the display? Either you get a notification and decide to act on it or not, or the lock screen shows it. That's not going to make any difference to battery life. You're describing a problem looking for a solution.

I presume you either don't own an iPhone or don't know how to use notifications properly.
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- African proverb
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post #32 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by DroidFTW View Post

Apple has shown us time and time again that who came up with an idea is irrelevant.  It's he who holds the patent to the technology that holds the power.  It's then up to the patent holder to decide if they want to use it aggressively.  If I were HTC I would be a little nervous right now.

I really like Elon Musks view of patents and how opening them to other's free use can actually expand his own business. This is well worth reading and then thinking about.
http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/all-our-patent-are-belong-you
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post #33 of 57

 

Someone set up us the global transportation energy revolution.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #34 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Someone set up us the global transportation energy revolution.

God did that already, it's called 'feet' 1wink.gif
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"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #35 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

No. Why would you need to repeatedly turn on the display? Either you get a notification and decide to act on it or not, or the lock screen shows it. That's not going to make any difference to battery life. You're describing a problem looking for a solution.

I presume you either don't own an iPhone or don't know how to use notifications properly.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

No. Why would you need to repeatedly turn on the display? Either you get a notification and decide to act on it or not, or the lock screen shows it. That's not going to make any difference to battery life. You're describing a problem looking for a solution.

I presume you either don't own an iPhone or don't know how to use notifications properly.

You don't repeatedly turn on the phone to respond to one notification. You repeatedly turn on the phone to check whether you have a notification. Whether or not you do this, I see people do this all the time.
post #36 of 57
I heard they're working on a cover for the cover.
post #37 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post


No. Why would you need to repeatedly turn on the display? Either you get a notification and decide to act on it or not, or the lock screen shows it. That's not going to make any difference to battery life.

How exactly do you view the lock screen if the display is turned off?

 

Answer: you turn it on.

 

How do you know there are notifications on your lock screen if you were out of earshot for the chimes?

 

Answer: you don't, iOS has no mechanism to do this (like, for example, an LED that tells you when there are unread notifications), other than turning the display on.

 

 

There are not difficult concepts.

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post #38 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

No. Why would you need to repeatedly turn on the display? Either you get a notification and decide to act on it or not, or the lock screen shows it. That's not going to make any difference to battery life.
How exactly do you view the lock screen if the display is turned off?

Answer: you turn it on.

How do you know there are notifications on your lock screen if you were out of earshot for the chimes?

Answer: you don't, iOS has no mechanism to do this (like, for example, an LED that tells you when there are unread notifications), other than turning the display on.


There are not difficult concepts.

The lock screen comes on automatically if you get a notification.

If you're out of earshot, you're probably deaf or in a very noisy place, in which case you can get a vibrating notification.
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post #39 of 57

And what if you're not in constant physical contact with your phone, like most people?  Or asleep?  Or you're on a rollercoaster?  Or god knows how many other scenarios that might mean you miss a notification, or have reason not to check your phone at that precise time?

 

Notifications last, what... 10 seconds?  With some having a second reminder that also lasts that number of seconds.  Many people have other distractions in their life which means they aren't paying attention, either actively or passively to their phone every minute of every day.  Things get missed, or forgotten.  It happens.

 

So, for the god-knows-how-many-th time, the iPhone doesn't offer a method for knowing you have unread notifications without turning the display on.

 

If you don't care about that functionality, that's fine.  I don't particularly care about it myself.  But that doesn't mean that it doesn't exist, or invalidate the people that might find it useful.

 

Sheesh.

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post #40 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post
 

And what if you're not in constant physical contact with your phone, like most people?  Or asleep?  Or you're on a rollercoaster?  Or god knows how many other scenarios that might mean you miss a notification, or have reason not to check your phone at that precise time?

 

Notifications last, what... 10 seconds?  With some having a second reminder that also lasts that number of seconds.  Many people have other distractions in their life which means they aren't paying attention, either actively or passively to their phone every minute of every day.  Things get missed, or forgotten.  It happens.

 

So, for the god-knows-how-many-th time, the iPhone doesn't offer a method for knowing you have unread notifications without turning the display on.

 

If you don't care about that functionality, that's fine.  I don't particularly care about it myself.  But that doesn't mean that it doesn't exist, or invalidate the people that might find it useful.

 

Sheesh.

 

I'm always dying to get my notifications when I'm asleep or on a roller coaster. What brilliant examples you gave of when you don't want to miss a notification. And constant physical contact with your phone? Most people never have their phone with them most of the time, no, you couldn't be closer to the truth. And I'm sure you would agree that it's much too arduous to press the home button once to see if you've missed any notifications; much too hard.

"If the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth."
- African proverb
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"If the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth."
- African proverb
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