Last week, Apple announced that iOS 8 will have interactive notifications, making it possible for people to interact directly with these before opening the apps that are calling for their attention.

Now, according to a newly filed patent application, Apple might be looking at making iPad covers with notifications on the top and/or inside of the cover, as Patently Apple spotted. The iPad cover would light up in real time with alerts and messages using various colored LED lights. If Apple does incorporate this into the iPad cover, it would be the first time its cover does more than just protect the iPad’s screen.

The LED lights would be able to even display designs and shapes, such as an envelope to signal a new email. It could also have a transparent section, showing the iPad’s screen to notify the owner of various alerts or information. The patent application also details various other ways and combinations of displaying alerts.

ipad smart cover -- notifications

The cover would be connected to the iPad for power and information transfer.

This is not Apple’s first foray into patents for a smarter iPad cover. Two years ago, Apple filed another that would include additional displays such as playback controls and status notifications on some of the panels.

Some Android tablets also already sport covers with this type of “smart” feature. The LG G3’s Quick Circle case has a circular cutout that shows various notifications from the screen.

Of course, this patent doesn’t mean the iPad cover will carry these capabilities. Apple and other companies frequently file for patents they never end up incorporating. But it could add a new level of functionality without compromising the screen’s safety.