Apple has patented a new kind of cover or skin for devices like the iPhone and iPad. The "smart covers" deliver a paradigm shift for electronic device covers, according to the patent. Apple notes that traditional skins and covers only provide protection from dents and scratches. A smart device cover would add at least one electronic function to traditional skins, allowing not only protection of the device, but augmentation of the devices capabilities.
Force sensors, solar grids, lighting effects, illuminated bezels, and even video conferencing are among the myriad uses the patent discusses for various smart covers. Additionally the patent discusses adding a physical keyboard and game pad smart cover to touch screen devices.
As always, just because Apple patents a device doesn't mean it will ever see the light of day. One is also left to wonder about the practicality of some of the skins (like a keyboard cover) that would obstruct part of the screen.