USPTO iPad Smart Cover
An illustration from an Apple patent application filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. USPTO

A patent application filed by Apple Inc. hints at what the Cupertino, California, tech titan may have in store for its future iPad.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published Apple’s patent application on Thursday, for something Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) describes as an “Integrated Visual Notification System in an Accessory Device,” serving as a screen cover and a notification indicator for tablet users.

In the patent illustrations filed by Apple, the screen protector appears fairly similar in basic design with its current iPad smart cover accessories.

uspto EL ipad
An illustration of a tablet smart cover with electroluminescent (EL) panels from an Apple patent application filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office USPTO

However, unlike current iterations of the iPad smart cover, these cover devices contain a variety of embedded LEDs and electroluminescent (EL) panels to display various notifications. In some versions of the invention, the cover also contains a transparent window to allow the use of the portion of a tablet device to display notifications as well.

USPTO iPad cover magsafe
An illustration of a MagSafe-like power connection on a tablet smart cover. USPTO

Such a smart cover would be possible only if there were a way to power it, for which Apple cleverly developed a solution in the filed patent. In one mockup, the smart cover attaches to the side of a tablet through a magnet, along with a data and power connector that resembles the MagSafe connector used by Apple for its MacBook power cables.

It’s unknown if the patented illuminated cover will find its way into a physical Apple iPad cover in the near future. However, its publication does give greater insight into how Apple has experimented in improving the iPad experience.