Apple has applied for a patent that would allow iPad owners to charge their tablet using a special version of the company’s Smart Cover. Referred to as “Integrated Inductive Charging in Protective Cover” in the application filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the cover would contain inductive power coils and perhaps a battery that could be used to wirelessly provide power to the slate when covering the display.

What Apple described in the patent application is a bit different than what we typically see with wireless induction charging. Instead of facilitating power from a stationary base or dock, the Smart Cover would contain the power transmitter that’s usually found in the base or dock of a charging station, essentially creating an on-the-go wireless charger.

Naturally, the Smart Cover itself would also need to be charged up before use which we assume could occur wirelessly when the iPad is plugged in. It seems unlikely that the Smart Cover would require its own charging cable. What’s more, the patent suggests the Smart Cover could contain solar cells to collect free energy from the sun.

The new Smart Cover would also use the existing magnet technology used to align the cover correctly on the iPad.

It’s worth pointing out that existing iPads don’t not contain inductive charging technology which means a powered Smart Cover would only work with future, equipped models. That said, it’s also worth mentioning that most patents actually never see the light of day so the odds are slim that Apple will actually bring this to market one day.