Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to a wallet styled protective cover for a future iPhone, perhaps an iPhone Pro that might include a pocket for a future Apple Pencil designed for the iPhone. Apple's patent notes that "The touch sensor control circuitry may be used to determine the location or locations where a user's finger or fingers or touch stylus is on the touch display."
While Apple's patent describes a cover for a tablet and/or smartphone, the patent figures are supporting the dimensions of an iPhone as noted in our cover graphic from the patent.
Apple later notes that the case may include a hinge and, if desired, "have a credit card pocket" presented on the inside cover portion of the case. Obviously this feature is to accommodate their Apple Card. The cover may be formed from fabric, leather, polymer, other materials, and/or combinations of these materials, though if the Apple Card is included, Apple will avoid leather or fabric as they've warned in the past.
In some configurations, the cover may include one or more magnets that are sensed by one or more magnetic sensors in the electronic device or other electronic device may use a proximity sensor to monitor whether the cover is closed or open.
Apple's patent FIG. 8 below comprises a grounding path between the layer of conductive material and the electronic device; FIG. 10 is a perspective view of an illustrative cover with a supplemental component and an associated electronic device in the cover.
Apple's patent FIG. 12 above is a flow chart of illustrative steps involved in using an electronic device and cover.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is another perspective of an iPhone going into a flip cover protective case.
Apple's patent FIG. 5 above is a top view of an illustrative cover with an illustrative patterned conductive layer.
Apple's patent application 20190324574 that was published today by the U.S. Patent Office was filed back in Q2 2018. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
Some of Apple's Inventors
Stephen Schooley: Product Design Softgoods
Kendall Helbert: Apple Product Design Engineer: Experience designing polymer, leather / softgoods, and magnetic products from rough prototypes to high quality and volume
Josh Hoover: Product Design Manager
Sean Cole: Product Design Lead; previously worked at Oakley
Zhao Liu: Multitouch Sensor Algorithm Engineer
Judd Reed: Sr. Algorithms Engineer