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Apple Smart Cover patent reveals 'peek mode' tech

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Apple on Tuesday was granted a patent for the Smart Cover accessory introduced alongside the iPad 2, with the IP not only covering the magnet-based technology associated with the foldable protective design, but also a function called "peek mode."

Smart Cover
Source: USPTO


Apple's U.S. Patent No. 8,264,310 for an "Accessory device for peek mode" describes in detail the magnetic mechanism found in the company's Smart Cover for iPad. Also found further down in the invention's language is a mention of a unique feature called "peek mode," which activates the tablet's display in segments according to how the cover is lifted off the glass.

Magnet Array
Magnet array alignment in Smart Cover hinge mechanism and iPad.


Apple already owns the Smart Cover design patent, however the '310 property formally illustrates the methods and mechanisms that allow the part to interface with the iPad. The patent calls for an accessory with a magnetic assembly connected to its body, which in this case is the hinge area that comes in contact with the device. The magnets are installed adjacent to one another and arranged according to a pattern of alternating polarities, thus making it almost impossible to misalign the cover with the iPad's counterpart magnetic assembly.

Hinge Assembly
Exploded view of Hinge mechanism.


By using magnets, Apple gets around building in unsightly fasteners or other hardware that would go unused by owners who choose to not purchase the Smart Cover. The iPad's magnetic assemblies are hidden within the non-magnetic aluminum chassis, one meant to attach the Smart Cover's hinge mechanism and another to keep the flap secure when closed.

Cover Exploded
Exploded view of Smart Cover.


The invention also describes the use of magnetically sensitive electronics like a Hall Sensor, which detects the presence of a magnetic field, to change the operating state of the device. For example, the iPad can "sense" whether the Smart Cover is in the closed position and adjust its on and off settings accordingly.

Peek Mode



Peek Mode
So-called "Peek Mode" functionality.


Perhaps most interesting is an embodiment in which a number of sensors, including the aforementioned Hall Sensor, are tasked to detect which segment of the Smart Cover has been lifted off the display's glass. This so-called "peek mode" allows for the screen to activate only those portions that are no longer in contact with the cover, or more specifically to display content when the outermost portion of the Smart Cover is lifted.

Peek mode calls for the exposed segment of the screen to show interactive icons, such as time of day and notes, thereby saving precious energy on limited processor and display use. Going further, an "extended peek mode" can be activated if more than the first segment of the Smart Cover is lifted off the screen, thereby displaying more content or triggering a specific operation. The invention notes that a front-facing camera or other type of sensor can be used for this function.

Peek Mode
Illustration of "Extended Peek Mode."


As the patent was first applied for in December 2010, months before the iPad 2 and Smart Cover were released in February 2011, it is possible that Apple was at least considering implementing peek mode at that time.

It is not known if the company will one day incorporate the functionality into a future tablet, however Apple is actively investigating advanced Smart Cover technology such as incorporating secondary displays into the first-party accessory.
post #2 of 16
This is a great patent that makes it difficult for Samsung to copy Apple's Smart Covers in functionality because the function is patented and protected.
post #3 of 16
When has that ever stopped Samsung
post #4 of 16
Can displays now turn on parts of their display? Is that why this is not in the actual ipads?
post #5 of 16
Man that's hot! I like the idea of peak mode.
post #6 of 16
Meh... I'm always running in peak mode. But that's just me.
post #7 of 16

Yawn.... This came out back with the patent application was posted some years ago... Ok, the patent was granted... Apple still has yet to do anything with it. How about another video comparing iPhone 5 parts to iPhone 4S? :/

post #8 of 16
I wonder if Apple has allowed for the contingency of someone inventing smart velcro?
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post

Yawn.... This came out back with the patent application was posted some years ago... Ok, the patent was granted... Apple still has yet to do anything with it. How about another video comparing iPhone 5 parts to iPhone 4S? :/

Hehe, good one.

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my way or the highway...

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post #10 of 16
Here's one of the times I mentioned this very idea.

This patent is different than my idea as it doesn't show the items I would think are useful for this setup (icons that need a full screen when launched?) and I don't see how an LCD can be lit up in segments without some major engineering that would seem to be pointless.

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post #11 of 16
I am for protecting patents that are meaningful but really? The USPS approved that peek patent? That is something that is very obvious (to me anyway).
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by xStatiCa View Post

I am for protecting patents that are meaningful but really? The USPS approved that peek patent? That is something that is very obvious (to me anyway).

You can patent just about anything, afterwards you are the one who has to defend it. If another company knowingly violates the patent, it is perhaps that they think it can be proven invalid in court. Deciding the validity of the patent prior to granting it is not something that the USPO worries too much about.

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post #13 of 16
to me, the ability to use and launch apps from a "peek" situation is kind of useless unless they are strictly for reading. the drawings show the Calculator App in the peek mode. to me, it would be difficult to use apps like that in peek mode because you still have to hold the cover open, and the cover is not flexible enough to really stay partially open on its own. Now, if the peek mode were strictly for just checking email, notifications, weather, stock ticker, time etc...then i can see the advantage. but not for any app that is interactive.
post #14 of 16
Evernote's iPad app has peak mode. Apple's application was dated Sept. 2010 - which was first?
post #15 of 16

You do realize that the patent-system has been founded to enable other companies to use "protected" functionalities once a competitor licensed them? A patent doesn't mean, nobody can do something similar - it's from way back where everything got protected so that competitors couldn't compete anymore. This system got invented to increase the competition by allowing a competitor to license a patent. Once you invent something you can patent it and therefor get paid if someone else is using it - the crazy thing starts, when you buy a company that owns patents...

E.g. the italian government could be one of the richest if they would own and license a patent on the roman alphabet...

post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by antkm1 View Post

to me, the ability to use and launch apps from a "peek" situation is kind of useless unless they are strictly for reading. the drawings show the Calculator App in the peek mode. to me, it would be difficult to use apps like that in peek mode because you still have to hold the cover open, and the cover is not flexible enough to really stay partially open on its own. Now, if the peek mode were strictly for just checking email, notifications, weather, stock ticker, time etc...then i can see the advantage. but not for any app that is interactive.

What if you heard a notification sound so you flipped it up to see who it's from and then closed it?
What if you want ed to check the time real quick? Or the weather? Or something else that was shown in just a bar of data that was easy to digest?

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