Apple iPad Smart Cover Patent Will Charge Tablet Wirelessly, Via Solar Power?

The Galaxy Note 8 might be making waves right now, but Apple is still the biggest player in the tablet market, and it looks like Cupertino might have some surprises in store for iPad fans.

According to a new patent application filed by Apple with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the company is currently developing a new Smart Cover for the iPad with built-in "inductive" charging that would be able to charge the tablet wirelessly.

The patent, titled "Integrated Inductive Charging In Protective Cover," reveals a future Smart Cover that would feature inductive power coils, or possibly a battery/solar cells, built into the cover. Once a user closes the Smart Cover, it would begin charging the iPad wirelessly.

"The protective cover can include an inductive power transmitter that can take many forms such as inductive coils," the patent reads, according to CNET. "The inductive coils can, in turn, receive power from an external power supply. In some cases, however, the protective cover can include an internal source of power such as a battery that can be used to store power that can subsequently be passed to the tablet device by way of the inductive power transfer circuit."

Of course, with power coils or a battery inside, the Smart Cover itself would need to be charged at some point, meaning iPad owners can't quite escape the requirement of wired charging just yet. The most interesting thing, however, is obviously the fact that Apple is thinking of solar power as a possibility. The Smart Cover could potentially feature solar cells that convert sunlight into energy that it can transfer to the iPad itself.

Unfortunately for current iPad owners, if this technology becomes a reality it wouldn't work with their tablets, as existing iPads haven't been outfitted with this capability. It looks like Apple is saving it for a future iPad model, though obviously when that will happen, if ever, is unclear.

This Apple patent was filed back in September of 2011.

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