It looks like a big part of this idea has been entertained before, with the company Incase offering its Convertible Magazine Jacket for $10 more than the Smart Covers, which eerily resembles the Covers' design and functionality. It is ribbed as well, and can be folded to make a two-stage stand for typing or watching movies too. The main difference is that it snaps on a hard shell that covers the back as well, whereas the Smart Covers simply glue to the magnet-friendly bezel of the iPad 2, which makes it more comfortable and lightweight.
Incase's current Convertible Magazine Jacket shares looks and functionality with Apple's Smart Cover
The ribbed and folding design cue in both cases, however, reminds strongly of... Japanese bathtub covers. A lot of Japanese started pointing out in the forums that the Smart Covers look precisely like the bathtub lid they had at home. Judging from the pictures, this is mainly due to the blue Smart Cover taking a prominent place during the iPad 2 presentation.
Had it been the Burgundy one, nobody would have noticed, but the bathtub theory at least explains the water droplets on the screen.
source: TUAW & Technologer via GSMArena