Apple completely reimagines the iPhone case

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Apple proposed swinging iPhone case
This is the simplest way of configuring Apple’s highly innovative iPhone case concept.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple engineers dreamed up an iPhone case that’s also a stand and a handle. And maybe a keyboard. It’s surprisingly simple, but also a dramatic departure from typical cases.

And it’s possible the designers see this as more than an add on. They seem to be proposing that handsets and tablets have this case built in.

Like no iPhone case you’ve seen before

The company today received a patent for “Peripheral housing for a computing device.” It proposes a rectangular ring that goes around all four edges of a iPhone (or possibly an iPad). It’s connected to the handset with a hinge at one edge, allowing the mobile device to swing freely.

Because it covers all the corners and edges of the handset, this proposed case might provide some protection for the iPhone in the center of the ring.

The patent documentation says “The peripheral housing and the display can together define a carrying handle for the computing device. The peripheral housing can also act as a physical support for the computing device when the display is rotated relative to the peripheral housing.” In other words, it can be a handle or a stand.

Throw in a keyboard too

Not content with that, the designers of this case see it as a way to add a virtual keyboard to the phone or tablet. As the patent documentation spells out:

“An image of a keyboard 410 can be projected interior to the aperture of the peripheral housing 403, for example, onto a surface on which the peripheral housing 403 is located. Components within the peripheral housing 403 can detect when, for example, a user touches a projected image of a keyboard key and register this action as an input.”

Apple proposed swinging iPhone case with virtual keyboard
A projected virtual keyboard is also a possibility.
Photo: Apple

Whether this design will become part of a iPhone or iPad at some point is a matter for speculation. While Apple saw enough value in the idea to patent it, that doesn’t mean it has plans to turn this innovative case concept into a real product.