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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.