Apple have clearly taken note of the very large market for iPad covers and cases the include a kickstand, and are devising a way of incorporating that function into the tablet itself. On Feb 3, 2011, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application (no. 20110025176) put forward by Apple, that shows a kickstand built-in to the back of a future iPad 2 or iPad 3 tablet.
Drawing submitted with the patent show that the stand can be configured for landscape or portrait orientation with high elebvation angle suitable for video or still photo viewing. Additionally the elevation angle can be reduced for each of these orientations to hold the iPad in a position suitable for use of the touchscreen keyboard. Further details of the patent can be found at Patently Apple.
Provided that the kickstand can be incorporated into the iPad with virtually no increase in mass or size, we at eBookReaderGuide.com are very excited by this development as it provides further choice to user. It would not necessarily spell the end of the after-market in ipad covers and cases. For example, iPad cases would still be essential for protecting the iPad when the device is not in use. On the other hand an iPad cover may restrict accessibility to the kickstand function as covers generally stay on the device. Therefore a future iPad cover may require some innovative design to maintain accessibility to the built-in kickstand, or duplicate the kick-stand function, or simply dispense with this function.