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Teardown of Apple's iPad 2 Smart Cover uncovers 21 magnets

post #1 of 76
Thread Starter 
A total of 31 magnets are used to make the iPad 2 and its Apple-branded Smart Cover properly align, with 21 magnets found in the accessory and the remaining 10 in the iPad 2 itself.

For the first time ever, iFixit conducted a teardown of a case, a move that highlights the unique nature of Apple's Smart Cover for the iPad 2. When the iPad 2 was first introduced, Apple touted that its accessory cover was developed alongside the new touchscreen tablet.

The solutions provider utilized magnetic viewing film to demonstrate the magnetic poles of the material inside the Smart Cover. It found that one magnet is used to turn off the iPad 2 screen, while the rest are used to either clamp the case to the iPad 2 or form the triangle shape that allows the case to act as a stand.

The sleep control for the iPad 2 can even be triggered with a separate magnet without using the Smart Cover, automatically enabling or disabling the screen.

Inside the iPad 2, a row of magnets are located on the right side of the device, making the Smart Cover clamp to the surface of the device. The magnets are clearly labeled with their alternating polarity, which ensures the Smart Cover always sits in the same orientation.



Also included in the iPad 2 are a row of magnets along the left side of the device, which allows the Smart Cover to latch onto the side and pivot to open and allow access to the screen. iFixit found that the magnets inside the iPad and its accompanying Smart Case on the left side are "very strong," and witnessed them make a two-inch leap to connect.

Inside the Smart Cover, iFixit found:
A large metal place encased in plastic that adheres to the magnets to form the stand.
Two yellow all-plastic plates in the middle that exist purely for structural support.
A stack of magnets.


The teardown also revealed that Apple opted for a steel-to-magnet bond, which is weaker than a magnet-to-magnet bond, which is why there are a total of 21 magnets inside the case. iFixit said that Apple needed "lots more magnets to prevent the case from literally falling apart during use."



The Smart Case does not use any correlated magnets, which have a complex field of patterns rather than standard positive and negative polarity. The magnets used by Apple inside both the Smart Cover and iPad 2 are regular two-pole magnets.



Last week, iFixit conducted a more traditional teardown of the iPad 2 itself. The disassembly of Apple's latest touchscreen tablet revealed that the new device has a slightly bigger battery than its first-generation counterpart, as well as double the RAM with 512MB.
post #2 of 76
If the magnet is that strong, we might start hearing people complaining their iPad scrambled their notebook hard drive, whether it's really possible or not.
post #3 of 76
Then we have problems with people with pacemaker.
post #4 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by xsu View Post

If the magnet is that strong, we might start hearing people complaining their iPad scrambled their notebook hard drive, whether it's really possible or not.

It's possible yes, but not as bad as it used to be in the early days.
post #5 of 76
For some reason I thought there would be more magnets on the hinge side rather than the screen-closure side. But it kinda makes sense to prevent the screen cover from always opening up.

White iPad 2 and Red Leather cover for me please, thx.

Or... I might skip this revision all together. Resistance, though, as we know, is usually... futile.
post #6 of 76
It was smart of Apple to build the smart cover functionality directly into the iPad itself. It's not going to be too easy for the copycats to implement this particular idea, as they would probably have to start from scratch all over again, causing them to redesign and rethink their entire tablet, leading to further huge delays, and by that time the iPad 3 will already be hitting the shelves.
post #7 of 76
I think there should have been more magnets at the corners of the smart cover and iPad 2 to ensure a tighter closed connection.
post #8 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post


White iPad 2 and Red Leather cover for me please, thx.

I don't have anything against AIDS research or anything, but for some reason, the red cover puts me off. Every time I would look at it, I would automatically associate that with it.
post #9 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

It was smart of Apple to build the smart cover functionality directly into the iPad itself. It's not going to be too easy for the copycats to implement this particular idea, as they would probably have to start from scratch all over again, causing them to redesign and rethink their entire tablet, leading to further huge delays, and by that time the iPad 3 will already be hitting the shelves.

The best part about it is that its a such a unique idea, that anyone who tries to copy it is going to look too obvious, and really foolish.

Though, the same could be said about the iPad itself. A year ago, and today.
post #10 of 76
Magnets in a screen cover! I couldn't help but smile thinking back to all those years when a single magnet anywhere near a monitor screen caused the screen's colors to mess up and the fix was pressing the built in degaussing button. After a loud buzzing noise, hopefully it was back to normal. How times change eh?
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
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From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
"Google doesn't sell you anything, they just sell you!"
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post #11 of 76
Do magnets have any effect on battery life?
post #12 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

How times change eh?

There was also a thing called floppy disks before and then later 3.5" disks, and you sure as hell didn't want to put those next to any magnets.
post #13 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

The best part about it is that its a such a unique idea, that anyone who tries to copy it is going to look too obvious, and really foolish.

Though, the same could be said about the iPad itself. A year ago, and today.

That's never stopped anybody before. They never had any shame or self respect before, so I wouldn't be surprised if somebody came out with the exact same idea.

I saw this new Asus computer on engadget recently, and it looked almost exactly like an iMac, only cheaper looking and uglier.
post #14 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

It was smart of Apple to build the smart cover functionality directly into the iPad itself. It's not going to be too easy for the copycats to implement this particular idea, as they would probably have to start from scratch all over again, causing them to redesign and rethink their entire tablet, leading to further huge delays, and by that time the iPad 3 will already be hitting the shelves.

True but they already do that for every other feature in anything Apple makes so I assume the copycats' production lines are set up to have continual changes made ('Appled' Engineering Degrees required ) . I bet the same is true of the Android software department although that must be a hell of a lot easier! Of course the Samsung chosen method is to have owners ship them back for the latest 'Catch Apple Up' alterations. Life in the slow lane must be a pain!
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
"Google doesn't sell you anything, they just sell you!"
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From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
"Google doesn't sell you anything, they just sell you!"
Reply
post #15 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

There was also a thing called floppy disks before and then later 3.5" disks, and you sure as hell didn't want to put those next to any magnets.

True, OMG imagine laying your latest Apple ][ disk full of games (with the notch cut out so as to be able to write to the reverse side of course) down one of these screen covers!
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
"Google doesn't sell you anything, they just sell you!"
Reply
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
"Google doesn't sell you anything, they just sell you!"
Reply
post #16 of 76
Where the multi-pierced hipster Apple Retail staff are suddenly besieged - Wile E. Coyote style - by an open case of 21-magnet iPad2 covers.


(Disclaimer - I adore Apple, but the retail staff can be amusing to watch.)
post #17 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

True, OMG imagine laying your latest Apple ][ disk full of games (with the notch cut out so as to be able to write to the reverse side of course) down one of these screen covers!

That's true, I forgot all about cutting out that little notch in the disks.
post #18 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

For some reason I thought there would be more magnets on the hinge side rather than the screen-closure side. But it kinda makes sense to prevent the screen cover from always opening up.

White iPad 2 and Red Leather cover for me please, thx.

Or... I might skip this revision all together. Resistance, though, as we know, is usually... futile.

Go to the store and at least try it out.
post #19 of 76
amazing ..you can judge the book by the COVER..
post #20 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

True, OMG imagine laying your latest Apple ][ disk full of games (with the notch cut out so as to be able to write to the reverse side of course) down one of these screen covers!

Oh, the memories!

Note to self, don't put wallet full of credit cards near an iPad or it's cover!
post #21 of 76
I'll buy the upgrade that has 23 magnets.
post #22 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

For some reason I thought there would be more magnets on the hinge side rather than the screen-closure side. But it kinda makes sense to prevent the screen cover from always opening up.

White iPad 2 and Red Leather cover for me please, thx.

Or... I might skip this revision all together. Resistance, though, as we know, is usually... futile.

you will be assimilated...

my way or the highway...

Macbook Pro i7 13" with intel SSD 320 series and 8GB RAM, iPhone 5, iPad 3 (Retina)

Reply

my way or the highway...

Macbook Pro i7 13" with intel SSD 320 series and 8GB RAM, iPhone 5, iPad 3 (Retina)

Reply
post #23 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I don't have anything against AIDS research or anything, but for some reason, the red cover puts me off. Every time I would look at it, I would automatically associate that with it.

I wish we could put the research into diseases that have unknown (or lesser-undesrstood) causes -- cancer, alzheimers, etc. AIDS could be stopped tomorrow, without any research at all.
post #24 of 76
I wonder if third-party accessories will find use for the magnets in the iPad, or if Apple will try to prohibit unauthorized interoperability.
post #25 of 76
How many though it was just a light sensor, not a magnetosensor, that turned the display on/off?


Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

The best part about it is that its a such a unique idea, that anyone who tries to copy it is going to look too obvious, and really foolish.

Though, the same could be said about the iPad itself. A year ago, and today.

Since the cover and device have to be designed in tandem it will be hard to match. I don't think many are using enough ferris metal in their devices to make even a 3rd-party case work, but I do look forward to see the clever ideas for 3rd-party magnetic iPad 2 cases coming to market.
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post #26 of 76
Apple continues to innovate. That is clever of them.
post #27 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

It was smart of Apple to build the smart cover functionality directly into the iPad itself. It's not going to be too easy for the copycats to implement this particular idea, as they would probably have to start from scratch all over again, causing them to redesign and rethink their entire tablet, leading to further huge delays, and by that time the iPad 3 will already be hitting the shelves.

Is it possible that patents will keep third parties from piggy-backing onto Apple's magnets for their own cases?
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post #28 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

That's true, I forgot all about cutting out that little notch in the disks.

Remembering those high tech tales of yesterday ... I start feeling really old!
post #29 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by nkalu View Post

Apple continues to innovate. That is clever of them.

As Lee Iacocca once said in a Chrysler commercial: "Lead, follow, or get out of the way." Lots of followers these days. Some of them will be getting out of the way soon.

BTW, I think Thomas Paine actually originated this saying.
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post #30 of 76
As I commented on TUAW, what I'd like to see is a "smart" carrying bag, which puts the iPad to sleep when you drop it in and wakes it back up when you pull it out. Now that we know there's only one sensor, we know such a bag would only require four small magnets one for each possible orientation of the iPad. Heck, even before some accessory company comes out with it, we might see a DIY version from someone who's handy with a sewing machine.
post #31 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

It was smart of Apple to build the smart cover functionality directly into the iPad itself. It's not going to be too easy for the copycats to implement this particular idea, as they would probably have to start from scratch all over again, causing them to redesign and rethink their entire tablet, leading to further huge delays, and by that time the iPad 3 will already be hitting the shelves.

A lot of people here forget that Motorola has already used the "magnets" idea in their Droid line for a while for different docking stations. This time, it was Apple that copied the idea
post #32 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Is it possible that patents will keep third parties from piggy-backing onto Apple's magnets for their own cases?

I am thinking Motorola will file a patent case against Apple, if they were smart enough to file a general patent, of course.
post #33 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by bongo View Post

I am thinking Motorola will file a patent case against Apple, if they were smart enough to file a general patent, of course.

I don't think just using magnets as sensors or to attach things together would be specific enough to patent. Neither is a dock application and a case application "the same thing." If what you say is true, then Motorola could get sued by hundreds of magnet using product manufacturers. But to use magnets in the several very specific ways (attachment, alignment, on/off sensing, case transformation) Apple did for a device case is unique--and patentable I think.
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post #34 of 76
So, the world should stop providing blood transfusions or procreating? I am confused.

Quote:
Originally Posted by frugality View Post

I wish we could put the research into diseases that have unknown (or lesser-undesrstood) causes -- cancer, alzheimers, etc. AIDS could be stopped tomorrow, without any research at all.
post #35 of 76
Thanks for the informative review of the new cover magnetic attachment mechanisms... that also provide EZ on/off

Just curious. on the inside of the new cover is supposed to be a micro cloth material to aid in keeping the display surface clean.

The (4) sections wrap in a triangular fashion to form a support base ... rather clever I might add.

However, I wonder if the nice micro cleaning material will also pick up debris as it sits on a variety of surfaces, then when closed over the nice new face ... what is the potential for abrasion?

I do know that gorilla glass is optical glass and is highly scratch resistant.

Just a thought. I can see this being a potential issue if it is wrapped under to keep the back from potential scratches... a lot of posters certainly don't want to scratch their nice cases.
post #36 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

That's true, I forgot all about cutting out that little notch in the disks.

Not to mention the scotch or masking tape that we kept handy for making them writable again!
post #37 of 76
Advertising is nice but redirecting focus for research in off topic ideas? This doesn't seem to be involved with the new cover. Seems like there is a lot of chatter here that is totally meaningless, as well.
post #38 of 76
Fucking magnets how do . . . oh never mind.
post #39 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by bongo View Post

A lot of people here forget that Motorola has already used the "magnets" idea in their Droid line for a while for different docking stations. This time, it was Apple that copied the idea

Because a docking station is the same as a cover?
post #40 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by madhatter61 View Post

[]

However, I wonder if the nice micro cleaning material will also pick up debris as it sits on a variety of surfaces, then when closed over the nice new face ... what is the potential for abrasion?

[]

Just a thought. I can see this being a potential issue if it is wrapped under to keep the back from potential scratches... a lot of posters certainly don't want to scratch their nice cases.

The case for the original iPad did the same thing; you folded the part touching the display over to be the based of the stand. I never found this to be an issue, though I did make sure the area I was placing it was fairly clean.

The benefit of the iPad 2 cover over the iPad 1 case is that only a about ΒΌ will be touching the surface you are placing it.
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