iPad 2 Smart Covers – How do they Work?

The folks over at iFixit love to take new Apple products apart to see what’s hidden under the hood, and the iPad 2 is no exception: minutes after the device hit store shelves last Friday, the site published teardown pictures of the new device. In their quest to better understand how Apple products work – and gain some publicity in the process – the site just took apart another new Apple product, the Smart Cover. As expected, the smart cover relies on magnets to stick to the iPad 2, but iFixit discovered that Apple uses no less than 31 magnets to make it work – 21 in the cover, and 10 in the iPad itself.

Unlike most technologies used by Apple, these magnets are not exactly cutting edge, as they are nothing more than two-pole magnets that can be bought at any hardware stores. However, the location of the magnets, and their layout, is quite unique, as Apple uses them in three different ways: one magnet is used to turn off the iPad 2’s screen, while the rest is used to clamp the smart cover to the side of the iPad, and to help the smart cover hold its triangular shape when folded. Unsurprisingly, the polarities of the magnets inside the iPad 2 and in the Smart Cover are reversed, to allow a strong bond between the two. The Smart Cover, a new type of cover launched by Apple last week, was built specifically for the iPad 2. The Smart Cover falls perfectly into place and stays put to protect the iPad 2 screen, without adding bulk to the device. Once the Smart Cover is opened, the iPad 2 wakes up instantly, and once it is closed, the iPad 2 goes to sleep automatically. The Smart Cover was also designed to be used as a stand as well, as once folded, the cover keeps the iPad 2 tilted at a convenient 20 degrees angle.