Could Microsoft be readying a touch cover for the iPad?

Microsoft may have developed some kind of keyboard/cover for the iPad, based on clues in a recently discovered document. If so, will Redmond ever bring it to market?

Stephen Brashear, Getty Images

Could Microsoft have built -- or still be planning to make -- a touch cover for the iPad?

That rumor is based on a Microsoft document unearthed by WinFuture.de. The document, which dates back to April 2017. The downloadable document is a list of devices incorporating lithium batteries which Microsoft declares to be in compliance with battery transportation requirements.

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Credit: Microsoft

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Among the items incorporating Lithium batteries that are listed are various Lumia phones, the HoloLens, Band 2, various Surface devices, a couple of Microsoft keyboards and "iPad Touch Cover (Model 1719)."

It's the last item on the list that's raising speculation as to whether Microsoft might have considered and/or still be considering making a touch cover/keyboard for the iPad.

I am a bit dubious about this given how awful I (and many others) found the Microsoft Surface Touch Covers to perform. I loved the idea -- a super light keyboard that doubled as a cover. But they were terrible to type on. I believe Microsoft discontinued Surface Touch Covers -- as they were designed for the first couple of iterations of the Surface tablets -- and only currently sells Type Covers, but haven't been able to verify that. (I've asked Microsoft if this is the case. No word back yet.)

In its August 2 post on its discovery, WinFuture wonders whether incorporation of a trackpad might be the reason the keyboard is called a "Touch" cover. Maybe?

Microsoft's Universal Foldable Keyboard, which the company introduced in 2015, is compatible with the iPad, iPhone, Android devices, Windows tablets and Phones, but does not work as a "cover."

I've asked Microsoft about the mention of the iPad Touch Cover and when/whether the company plans to roll out such a device. I'm expecting a "No comment," but if and when I hear back, I'll update the post.

Update: A spokesperson came through: "Microsoft does not comment on rumors and speculation."

Given Microsoft officials' embrace of non-Microsoft hardware platforms these days, the existence of a some kind of Microsoft-designed and branded keyboard/cover for an iPad wouldn't totally surprise me.

I just wouldn't expect it to be branded "Surface."

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