Rumor has it that Microsoft wants to launch the all-new and super flagship Surface Phone in the spring of 2017, and while the company remains completely tight-lipped on such plans, there’s plenty of speculation regarding this device.

The latest hearsay points to a Microsoft patent for a protective keyboard case that could be launched on the Surface Phone if the company indeed goes on with this plan.

As spotted by MSPU, this patent has recently been updated by Microsoft after originally filing it in 2009, so now there’s word that the company is looking at this technology because work on the Surface Phone advances.

Specifically, this technology comes down to a protective case for a mobile device that can double as a keyboard and touchpad, similar to the Touch Cover that Microsoft used on the Surface. And given the fact that the Surface team is the one building the Surface Phone, it would actually make sense for such tech to be used on the upcoming Windows 10 Mobile device.

The keyboard case would greatly expand the productivity features of the Surface Phone, and this is exactly what Microsoft tries to achieve with this model.

A mobile version of the Surface Touch Cover?

Here’s how the company describes the new cover in the patent:

“An apparatus for communicating with a handheld device (e.g., a cellular telephone) is provided herein. A protective shroud is configured to enclose the handheld device and protect it against incidents that commonly cause damage to handheld devices.”

“Integral to the protective shroud is at least one of an input component configured to receive user input and a wireless transceiver configured to transmit signals to and/or receive signals from the handheld device. In one example, where both the input component and the wireless transceiver are integral to the protective shroud, signals related to received user input (e.g., where the shroud serves as a keypad) may be transmitted to the handheld device even if the protective shroud is removed from the handheld device.”

With Microsoft giving up on the Lumia series, the Surface Phone could be the only Windows 10 Mobile device manufactured by the company, so there’s no doubt that everyone in Redmond wants to get this right. And yet, don’t take everything for granted for now, as there’s not even confirmation that Microsoft is indeed building a Surface Phone, not to mention compatible accessories.

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