An Apple patent from a year ago was made public and I have to admit – I see some great potential here. The concept is that the smart cover would have its own display. That way, even with the cover on you can still get notifications like the number of emails or calendar events, etc. No need to take the cover off or anything. It can also just be a traditional secondary display (hey 3DS) or a virtual keyboard (hey Surface).
Neat concept and one that I think actually would be very practical.