or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Apple's smart magnet tech could spawn new class of connected iPad accessories
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Apple's smart magnet tech could spawn new class of connected iPad accessories

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
An Apple patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday describes an intelligent magnetic attachment system that provides an interface for an iPad to connect and communicate with a variety of accessory devices, including other iPads.

Smart Cover


Apple's patent for a "Magnetic attachment unit" has a basis in the keyed magnetic mechanism present in all iPads. Currently, Apple uses the internal magnet arrangement as a simple anchor point for Smart Covers or Smart Cases, but the proposed invention takes that idea much further.

Magnetic Attachment
Source: USPTO


Starting from the mechanics of the property, Apple proposes a keyed magnetic structure be embedded in an iPad's chassis, much like the existing implementation. By using keyed magnets, that is a specific arrangement of magnets, add-on accessories can be optimally positioned repeatably without much fuss. The document notes that these magnetic structures may be positioned on any side of the tablet body, including the bottom for use with docks and stands.

Traditional magnets can be deployed, as well as electromagnets that can be controlled via the device's operating system. For example, if a user wants to attach or detach an accessory, they can simply press the home button for hands-free operation.

Magnetic Attachment


Moving on to attachable accessories, Apple describes methods in which an iPad can be connected to a variety of cases, electronic devices and even other iPads. By leveraging the tablet's internal wireless hardware suite, any number of accessory devices may be operatively coupled to the iPad.

Apple offers a variety of solutions, from "static" cases and docks to "active" peripherals like game controllers and detachable keyboards.

Magnetic Attachment


In some embodiments, the system can include a magnetic attachment unit as illustrated above. This implementation would allow for the connection of two tablets to form a cooperating system. The orientation can be imagined as two tablets attached side-by-side via an intermediary magnetic unit, like an e-reader with two screens. In Apple's invention, however, each display would have the computing power of an iPad.

For example, if a user were to employ the magnetic attachment unit seen above, they would be able to take advantage of two devices in a single portable package. A range of use scenarios would be available, limited only by software. Screen tiling could provide an elongated continuous screen, or a student would be able to view class material on one screen while typing on another.

Magnetic Attachment


In a second embodiment, a detachable segmented cover is described. Identical in form to the current Smart Cover, this design can be deployed with an integrated keyboard, touch-sensitive drawing pad or other useful input options. Communication with the tablet would again be performed over wireless protocols.

Other accessories may be custom-built to augment the tablet's usability. For example, a stylus holder is described that, when magnetically attached, sends a signal to the iPad directing it to activate a special stylus recognition mode. Once the attachment is released, the tablet returns to normal operation.

Magnetic Attachment


As seen in the above illustrations, everything from cameras to credit card readers are accounted for in the document. One interesting example includes an external storage device that could theoretically be implemented into a Smart Case design.

The patent goes on to explain that a sensing circuit can be employed within the magnetic attachment mechanism to sense when an accessory or second device is operatively connected. A simple circuit can utilize a retaining magnet electrically isolated from the grounded device frame. When an accessory's magnet couples with the retaining magnet, current is allowed to flow to ground.

Magnetic Attachment


By distributing sensing circuits at multiple retaining magnets in the keyed magnet structure, the tablet is able to sense when specific accessory is attached. For example, the circuit may output different logic values for a stylus stylus holder than a detachable keyboard.

Magnetic Attachment


More common implementations would use the magnetic attachment system to connect accessories like Smart Covers. Here Apple offers a few other options, like the straps and hangers seen above. Also mentioned are docks that can hold and pivot an iPad on a rotatable arm. Other docking solutions include a stand for landscape orientation viewing and the usual electrical port charging system seen in today's products.

Magnetic Attachment


Finally, hidden within the patent language is an embodiment that calls for a user to wear a magnetic ring that can control an iPad's Hall Effect sensor. In current Apple hardware, the Hall Effect sensor is used to determine the presence of a Smart Cover, which in turn controls the power state of the tablet. If an iPad were enabled for the feature, a user wearing a magnetic ring would be able to "swipe" across the sensor to activate certain software functions.

Magnetic Attachment


Apple's magnetic attachment system patent application was first filed for in October, 2013 and credits Sean S. Corbin and Andrew D. Lauder as its inventors.
post #2 of 18
Always thought it odd that Lightning wasn't magnet based.

Interesting appearance of a TouchPad (presumably for a pointer) in one of the pictures.

censored

Reply

censored

Reply
post #3 of 18
good gear, love to see a whole new suite of goodies coming from Apple. I would like very much if they don't forget the Mac though...
post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post

Always thought it odd that Lightning wasn't magnet based.

Interesting appearance of a TouchPad (presumably for a pointer) in one of the pictures.

Even better, Apple should implement USB 3 using the Lightning connector (and blow away the Euro miniUSB controversy).
"...The calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore, For ships are safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
- Michael Lille -
Reply
"...The calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore, For ships are safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
- Michael Lille -
Reply
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Windle View Post

good gear, love to see a whole new suite of goodies coming from Apple. I would like very much if they don't forget the Mac though...

Not to worry...



"...The calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore, For ships are safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
- Michael Lille -
Reply
"...The calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore, For ships are safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
- Michael Lille -
Reply
post #6 of 18

The new Mac Pro is not going to have much of an impact on the Market. It's a niche product and does not really do much more than most PC's out there. What Apple need to make is another "Insanely Great" product. Something that no other computing devices are capable of... like the Mac in the 80's, Apple set the benchmark. Like iPhone and iPad, they also set up a whole new market by making new ways of computing.

 

I really think the time has come for the Mac to be re-invented so that it is completely revolutionary. 

 

How? I have some ideas, but I'd like to get paid to make them real!

 

Technology is almost at the point where there are no limits to design, so this is the focus. Design something beautiful, practical, useful, accessible (physically and economically) + pleasant to use and guess what... making money $$$ but please, make it a Mac, not a toy.

post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Not to worry...




Show Off!..... but happy for ya none the same.... 1smoking.gif

PS. Will that help you with getting that hinted at book out sooner? Look at all those cores and power, must be a way to harness that into writing faster... whatcha think? 1tongue.gif
Knowing what you are talking about would help you understand why you are so wrong. By "Realistic" - AI Forum Member
Reply
Knowing what you are talking about would help you understand why you are so wrong. By "Realistic" - AI Forum Member
Reply
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post

Always thought it odd that Lightning wasn't magnet based..

I hear this but I have no idea how this would work. Take a look at MagSafe and see how it's fundamentally different from Lighting. For starters, the pins for MagSafe don't have to connect in the same way as Lightning because it's only for power, not for data.

Second, MagSafe is considerably larger than Lightning because of the magnets. This isn't a big deal for a notebook power cable because of the amount or power going threw it but for Lighting it's not feasible. You simply can't put the proper magnets into the male (it's an accepted term, get over it) connector and keep it the same size, and you can't put it into the female receptacle where there is more room without risk of other metal objects in you pock or bag attracting it and potentially causes a short.

Now let's say they can make the magnets "intelligent" so they decide to remove the bill part off Lightning to make it a flat end with 8 pins that are reversible. You either have these pins spread out or a stubby, almost nonexistent reversible bill on the male end that pops in place. But how strong is the magnet? How much larger is the connector now that you've added the magnet? I understand why they changed MagSafe to MagSafe2 but it's not nearly as good from a user perspective. It falls off too easy and this many times larger than Lighnting is now so how is this feasible? Why would you want it at all when it could fall off so easily when you think you're charging your phone, say, in your car or in your pocket or bag with an external battery backup?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Even better, Apple should implement USB 3 using the Lightning connector (and blow away the Euro miniUSB controversy).

It's just a port interface so they can implement pretty much any protocol they want so long as they have the pins to support it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Windle View Post

What Apple need to make is another "Insanely Great" product. Something that no other computing devices are capable of... like the Mac in the 80's, Apple set the benchmark. Like iPhone and iPad, they also set up a whole new market by making new ways of computing.

This Mac Pro is just another example (under Cook) of setting the bar for the "PC" category. The Mac Pro has never been better, The iMac has never been better, and the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air have ever been better. These are so good that the industry isn't able to match them.
Quote:
Technology is almost at the point where there are no limits to design, so this is the focus. Design something beautiful, practical, useful, accessible (physically and economically) + pleasant to use and guess what... making money $$$ but please, make it a Mac, not a toy.

No, there are plenty of limits, but you not seeing them could be reason you are unimpressed with Apple's substantial and repeated achievements with their Mac lines. The performance in the Mac Pro for that that size and power envelope is unseen in a workstation, not to mention how quiet the whole thing is. The new Mac Pro is everything you want except probably not being in your price range (but that's life since it's a workstation, not a Mac mini). It's certainly not a toy, but no Mac is a toy which seems to be something you're implying.
Edited by SolipsismX - 2/20/14 at 9:44am

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

 

Goodbyeee jragosta :: http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/160864/jragosta-joseph-michael-ragosta

Reply

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

 

Goodbyeee jragosta :: http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/160864/jragosta-joseph-michael-ragosta

Reply
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Windle View Post
 

The new Mac Pro is not going to have much of an impact on the Market. It's a niche product and does not really do much more than most PC's out there. What Apple need to make is another "Insanely Great" product. Something that no other computing devices are capable of... like the Mac in the 80's, Apple set the benchmark. Like iPhone and iPad, they also set up a whole new market by making new ways of computing.

 

I really think the time has come for the Mac to be re-invented so that it is completely revolutionary. 

 

How? I have some ideas, but I'd like to get paid to make them real!

 

Technology is almost at the point where there are no limits to design, so this is the focus. Design something beautiful, practical, useful, accessible (physically and economically) + pleasant to use and guess what... making money $$$ but please, make it a Mac, not a toy.

The Mac Pro was never designed to be a mass market product and certainly is a niche product but a needed one, in a class by itself. Please educate me on anything (similar configuration and capacities) that comes close to it on a  price/performance basis. As far as another 'insanely great' product goes, you do realize it takes a lot of resources (research, inspiration, perspiration, time, money etc...) to even come close to doing that and again educate me as to who in the electronics industry has been better than Apple at coming up with game chaining products in the last 7-10 years.

 

 

If you have some 'insanely great' ideas, that  you firmly believe in, then maybe you should work for (or at least pitch and sell your ideas) to someone who can turn those ideas into products. Keeping great ideas to yourself does absolutely nothing.

 

Those who can, DO. Those who can't, TEACH. Those who can't teach, BI.CH / COMPLAIN!

Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools."
Reply
Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools."
Reply
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

male (it's an accepted term, get over it)
Didn't say anything, wouldn't have said anything. I suggest that you get over it.

Otherwise, good post.

censored

Reply

censored

Reply
post #11 of 18
Great ideas all, and likely to be a good reason to get us to upgrade. But while they're making all these changes, Apple might give serious consideration to:

1. Adding GPS to all iPads. It'd one-up the competition and location can be valuable even without cellular data.

2. Consider adding GPS to MacBook Pros and perhaps the MacBook Air.

3. Develop a way for GPS-equipped iPhones and iPads to share location data via Bluetooth with other Apple devices. Again, that'd one-up the competition.
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post

Always thought it odd that Lightning wasn't magnet based.

Couldn't agree more. Apple could easily have done this.

post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post

Great ideas all, and likely to be a good reason to get us to upgrade. But while they're making all these changes, Apple might give serious consideration to:

1. Adding GPS to all iPads. It'd one-up the competition and location can be valuable even without cellular data.

2. Consider adding GPS to MacBook Pros and perhaps the MacBook Air.

3. Develop a way for GPS-equipped iPhones and iPads to share location data via Bluetooth with other Apple devices. Again, that'd one-up the competition.

Good ideas, inkling. I would love to have GPS on a WiFi only iPad Mini...

 

Best.

post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

 or a student would be able to view class material on one screen while typing on another.
 

I hope this isn't Apple's answer to Windows 8.1 multitasking

"And thus, the truth became known"
Reply
"And thus, the truth became known"
Reply
post #15 of 18
Combine this with Apple's last patent for sensor based chassis revealed earlier this week, and you just got the makings of the 12.9" iPad pro. Think about it. A whole new platform.
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Realistic View Post

 

Those who can, DO. Those who can't, TEACH. Those who can't teach, BI.CH / COMPLAIN!

I think you have mistaken my suggestion as bitching...?

 

;-)

post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

Good ideas, inkling. I would love to have GPS on a WiFi only iPad Mini...

Best.
Bollocks just bought an iPad mini retina this week didn't know it didn't have GPS
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by 180C View Post

Bollocks just bought an iPad mini retina this week didn't know it didn't have GPS

You still have time to return it for a full refund.

If you are in the US I would get the T-Mobile version so you can get GPS which will also come with free data (200MB per month) for the life of the product.

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

 

Goodbyeee jragosta :: http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/160864/jragosta-joseph-michael-ragosta

Reply

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

 

Goodbyeee jragosta :: http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/160864/jragosta-joseph-michael-ragosta

Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Discussion
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Apple's smart magnet tech could spawn new class of connected iPad accessories