It's rare that we both bringing up new Apple patents here at TUAW, simply because most of them are too nonspecific or obscure to really put much weight on, but this newly published patent is just too cool not to mention. The patent describes a new Smart Cover that features a notification system to alert the user of calls, messages, and other information without having to flip the cover open.
The patent covers two different ways a user could get notifications while the cover is equipped: Either by built-in illumination elements within the accessory itself or via a semi-transparent portion of the cover that would allow light from the screen underneath to shine through.
The portion of the patent that describes the shine-though feature seems to point to something like the HTC Dot View case that is current available for the HTC One M8 (pictured above). Having used that cover myself, I can say that it's quite an ingenious design that makes quick glances for notifications and time super easy. I'd definitely be interested to see Apple's take if this patent ever gets translated into an actual product.