The device would function as a keyboard while keeping the device at an ideal viewing angle when opened.
The patent filing with the name Collapsible Shell Cover with Keyboard Case indicates that the case would include a keyboard, a device holder, and a kickstand.
In the open position, swiveling joints allow the device holder and kickstand to lock at a 90-degree angle, and edges on the holder keep the device securely in place at an ideal viewing angle.
When open, the keyboard is located in front of the device screen. When closed, the case creates a protective hard-shell which covers the screen.
Dimensions Provide Clue
The dimensions in the patent indicate that the case would be 29.9 centimeters wide by 18.8 centimeters long, and 1.4 centimeters thick (or approximately 11.77″ x 7.4″x 0.6″). It would appear that the case would hold a device that is slightly smaller than those dimensions.
Currently, the Surface Pro 4 measures in at approximately 29.2 centimeters wide and 20.1 centimeters long. The dimensions would appear to indicate that this case was designed with a streamlined version of the Surface in mind.
Microsoft may use this Collapsible Shell Cover with Keyboard Case to make future versions of Surface thinner by getting rid of the kickstand. Or, it is possible that Microsoft is considering adding this keyboard case to its collection of universal accessories.
One possible design flaw is that the keyboard would be exposed in the closed position. It will be interesting to see whether users will have problems due to excessive wear and tear on the keyboard.