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Entries in magnet (2)

Tuesday
Mar202012

Apple Wins Coded Magnet Patent for iPad Smart Cover

Patently Apple reports that Apple has won the first coded magnet patent for iPad Smart Cover.

Apple has won their first coded magnet patent win today. Apple's invention generally relates to a system, method, and apparatus for releasably attaching the iPad smart cover accessory to an iPad. The iPad Smart Cover includes at least an accessory body and a magnetic assembly pivotally connected to the accessory body. The magnetic assembly includes at least a first plurality of magnetic elements arranged adjacent one another in a first relative size order along a first line and arranged according to a first polarity pattern of alternating magnetic polarities, and a second plurality of magnetic elements arranged adjacent to one another in a second relative size order along the first line and according to a second polarity pattern of alternating magnetic polarities.

This is quite interesting, especially considering my recent discovery that Apple's new iPad ("iPad 3") features a new type of sleep/wake sensor that requires a specific polarity.

Many, Many Magnets

iFixit performed a teardown on the Apple Smart Cover last year.  They discovered that the Smart Cover contained more than 20 magnets.  One of the magnets (circled in the photo below) is for triggering the iPad's sleep/wake sensor.  The remaining magnets are designed to allow the Smart Cover to quickly attach and properly align with the iPad.

Smart Cover and iPad 2 Magnet Locations - Right Side (Photo by iFixit)

Since Apple released the iPad 2 and Smart Cover, dozens of third-party manufacturers have introduced a variety of cases, folios and covers that utilize magnetic "Smart Cover" technology to one degree or another.  It remains to be seen how Apple's newly-awarded patent might impact the third-party iPad case market.

Saturday
Mar172012

iPad 3 Smart Cover Sleep/Wake Feature Not Working

Apple released the new iPad ("iPad 3") on Friday, March 16, 2012.  Unfortunately, new iPad buyers quickly discovered that their iPad's Smart Cover sleep/wake feature is not working properly with some third-party cases.  More perplexing, the problem isn't always consistent from case to case within the same model line.

On Smart Cover compatible cases, the iPad's sleep/wake feature is triggered by a small magnet embedded in the case's cover.  Most of the speculation regarding the possible cause of the sleep/wake problem has centered around the placement or location of the little magnet within the lid of the case.  Apple is rumored to have moved the location of the magnetic sensor in the iPad 3 and, thus, the magnet in some cases doesn't line up properly. While that might be the problem with some case designs, that's certainly not the problem with the Maroo Moko II case that I purchased for one of our new iPads!

It's all About Polarity!

It appears Apple is using a new design of sleep/wake sensor in the new iPad.  A sleep/wake sensor that is sensitive to polarity.  I shot some video to demonstrate.

(For the best viewing experience, click in the lower right corner to expand the video and then click on "HD".) 

By the way, the most recent genuine Apple Smart Covers are compatible with the new iPad 3!

Update

A case manufacturer in the UK has tested my discovery.  The magnetically-activated sleep/wake function on one of his case designs was working with the iPad 2 but not working with the iPad 3.  He disassembling the first panel of the case's smart cover and reversed the entire panel—thus reversing the polarity of the magnet embedded in the panel—and held the panel in place with clear packaging tape.

Then he tested the modified case cover on both the iPad 2 and the iPad 3.  Success!  With the reversed panel, the case cover works perfectly with both the iPad 2 and iPad 3!

This manufactuer's test proves that the magnetic sensor switch in the iPad 2 is not sensitive to polarity!  Apple has switched to a different type of sensor switch for use in the iPad 3.

Update 2

I've learned why Apple decided to use a polarity sensitive switch in the new iPad 3.  Some iPad 2 customers were having issues with their iPads entering sleep mode when they flipped Apple's Smart Cover around flat behind their iPad 2.  Since the iPad 2's sleep/wake sensor wasn't polarity specific, it could sometimes be triggered from the magnet being positioned at the rear of the iPad.  By changing to a sensor that requires the correct polarity, the problem is eliminated.

Update 3

I've learned that some of the original genuine Apple Smart Covers do not work properly with the iPad 3.  Sometime in 2011, Apple apparently modified the design specifications of the Smart Covers in preparation for the release of the iPad 3.  According to reports on Apple's support forums, the model numbers for the Smart Covers changed at the same time.  Apple is reportedly exchanging these older Apple Smart Covers for the newer models at your favorite Apple Store.