Apple Wins Patent for a Future iPad Pro Smart Keyboard Folio to include a MacBook Pro Styled Touch Bar
Patently Apple posted a patent application report back in August 2012 titled "Apple Invents Mind Boggling Next Generation Smart Cover with Multi-Touch Flexible Display, Solar Panels & Built-in Keyboard." Apple was first granted this patent back in May 2016 titled "Apple Awarded a Patent for a Next-Gen iPad Pro Cover with a Secondary Display for Drawing & More."
Today Apple was granted a "continuation patent" for this invention deadly focused on delivering a MacBook Pro-Like Touch Bar for the iPad Pro's Smart Keyboard Folio, according to its revised patent claims starting with claim #1 as presented below.
Patent Claim #1: An electronic system, comprising: a first part that carries a display arranged to present multiple applications, the multiple applications including an application, wherein a selection of the application by a command directed to the display executes the application such that application data of the application is presented on the display; and a second part that is rotationally coupled with the first part, the second part comprising: a keyboard assembly, a touch-sensitive display positioned between the hinge assembly and the keyboard assembly, the touch-sensitive display capable of presenting an application toolbar comprising customized virtual keys specific to the application when the application data is presented on the display in response to the selection of the application by the command directed to the display, the touch-sensitive display further capable of presenting customized virtual keys specific to each application of the multiple applications, a receptor portion, and a connector located at the receptor portion.
Apple's patent FIG. 5 above illustrates a perspective view of a tablet device with a keyboard and touch screen integrated into the flap portion. Whether Apple will refine the Touch Bar for their Smart Keyboard Folio to match the thin bar design found on the MacBook Pro or expand it as the original patent presents it is unknown at this time.
Apple's granted patent 10,488,883 was published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office. Fletcher Rothkopf is 13 year veteran that is noted as the sole inventor. Rothkopf is Apple's Senior Director of Product Design, Technology Development Group.