The consumer tech industry will probably continue its very long legacy of constant “borrowing” this week as a former Apple employee, Jamie Ryan has mentioned that the company is looking into making a keyboard cover for the iPad. Taking cues from the Touch Cover for the Microsoft Surface, the keyboard cover would be designed to enable the standard iPad to double as a business and professional friendly platform.
While it looks like Apple might be considering a new role for the top-selling tablet, Ryan emphasized caution before buying into this rumor completely. "Apple regularly mocks up all sorts of accessories and products and ditches them. 1000 no's for every yes etc."
I think you are remembering the wrong date.
According to your own favorite site Google, Apple filed a patent application titled "Cover attachment with flexible display" in August 2011 which is about 10 months before Microsoft announced its Surface tablet with keyboard cover.
Figure 5 of the patent application shows a perspective view of a tablet device with a keyboard and touch screen integrated into the flap portion.
Is this a case in which Apple distorted space-time continuum and traveled back in time to file a patent application after seeing what Microsoft has announced?