Apple is considering adding various new features to future versions of the Smart Cover, a protective accessory specifically developed for the iPad, according to a new patent discovered by AppleInsider.

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Titled “Device Input Modes With Corresponding User Interfaces,” the patent application describes various new features that would be available to iPad Smart Cover users, which could let users further customize their tablet experiences without needing special physical buttons on the tablet to do so.

The patent describes ways for the tablet to recognize various gestures, and provide contextual menus depending on how many sections of the Smart Cover actually cover the screen.

In one instance, users could partially open the Smart Cover to quickly access toggles or menus for various settings that could then be changed without unlocking the device.

Gestures such as swiping laterally or vertically on a partially uncovered part of the display could also be recognized by the iPad as a way to adjust brightness or change the volume.

In addition to quick access to certain settings and notifications, opening more than one section of the iPad could let users access specific apps, such as email clients, and expand email notifications to fill the available uncovered screen real estate. Again, unlocking the iPad would not be required.

Playing a video on the iPad, and then covering part of the display with a Smart Cover, might automatically adjust the size of the app to fit the uncovered portion of the display.

To implement smarter Smart Cover features like these, Apple might make use of additional magnetic sensors, ambient light sensors and even the built-in iSight camera on its tablets.

Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby, and before he knew it he was sharing his views on tech stuff with readers around the world. Whenever he's not writing about gadgets he miserably fails to stay away from them, although he desperately tries. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.