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The Magnetic Attraction of the iPad 2 Smart Cover

Ahead of tomorrow's iPad 2 official launch we take a quick look at one of the most touted innovations from the Announcement, Apple's Smart Cover, plus we note some of our observations and concerns about it.

You've seen Apple's new Smart Cover and you're thinking to yourself, "Yeah that's cool, but it is a lot of money for a few magnets and a bit of plastic, even if it is the stuff they make space suits out of." [or more expensive leather]. To be honest, it is a lot of money. We think that $10-$15 could reasonably be knocked off of each version of Smart Cover and they would sell a lot more of them, although maybe with marginal profit.

Ipad2 smartcoverflowBut we found it interesting that Apple seems to be going to great lengths to ensure you don't cover up the back of your iPad 2. Surely this is why we love our Apple products isn't it? They appeal to our aesthetic senses? Here's what occurred to us after the Smart Cover announcement:

  • Apple did what no-one else was able to do with iPad 2, they changed the internal structure by adding perfectly placed magnets. Despite this iPad 2 is lighter and thinner than its predecessor.
  • Apple really want their customers to benefit from the aesthetics of their devices, whether this is about their love of their design as seen in the final product or showing off their logo, we don't know.
  • Their attention to detail in design goes as far as how the Smart Cover sounds when it is being attached, watch the video again and turn the sound up, notice how much emphasis is put on the VW-door-style clunk as the hinge attaches and the cover is laid down. What does that solid VW clunk indicate to the customer? Quality!

  • As innovative as the cover is, the roll-up stand design is strikingly similar to the Incase Convertible Magazine Jacket. The difference, of course, is that the Incase original iPad design needs and uses an external case, covering the back of the iPad.
  • We are curious to know how strong the magnetic attraction is on the far right edge, i.e. if you turn the iPad 2 face down and give it a shake, does it flap open? And if it is in your bag as it is, will it be easy to inadvertently lift the Smart Cover, turning the iPad screen on (this being one of the touted features)?

We really want to see one of these in the flesh before deciding on a purchase, but being in the UK, we won't be able to do this for a few weeks yet.

So, if you are in the US and are planning to get a Smart Cover with your iPad 2, be sure to let us know. We would also like to hear what you think of the Smart Cover whether you intend to buy or not, good or bad, just leave your comment below.

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Reader Comments (6)

I like the look of the smart cover, so much so that i went out and bought the Incase Magazine Convertible Cover cos my ipad 1 needed some smart case loving. Love the incase, although it doesn't do what I want of it so going to sell it.

Anyone want to buy it for £25 (it cost £40 and its only a week old).

March 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJames Hall

My concern would be that the metal hinges would really scratch up the side of the iPad if put the iPad in a bag with the smart cover still on.

Also, I tend to travel with my iPad in my laptop bag. How will those magnets affect a laptop if in close proximity for a few hours?

March 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSam Kimpton

James - That's interesting that you bought the Incase Cover, what didn't you like about it?

March 10, 2011 | Registered CommenteriPad Creative

Sam - we were wondering about that, after repeated attachments with the hinge would there be some wearing/scratching. The magnet issue is a weird one, for years we have been told to keep magnets away from our gadgets and now Apple are wrapping the iPad 2 in them.

We'll be interested to know if these have any effect on other electronics, like your laptop, too.

March 10, 2011 | Registered CommenteriPad Creative

After 2 hours on line with some of the oddest people in NY I have ever seen, i got an iPad 2 64gb 3G version, and a black leather cover as it was the only available option. I've removed the cover about 30 or 40 times and there is no visible wear... Yet. I needed a break from garage band (which is great for roughing out song ideas btw) and stumbled upon this blog. Here's my initial take on the cover.

Started off with the run-of-the-mill "Apple chemical smell". Now it just smells like nicely treated cow skin. Leather is extremely smooth to the touch, I almost feel like I'm violating my iPad by rubbing it :). After one day of use there is slight visible dust (minute specks) on the underside but not much and most brush off with a swipe of the fingers. I can already see a pattern on my screen where the gaps are in between where it's apparently wiping away some of my fingerprint oils.

One concern I have is that when you fold it in on itself the soft underside is now exposed and sitting on whatever surface you are working on, be it a table, or your jeans, or god forbid the counter in a public bathroom. I'm wondering if this will pick up dust and debris and possibly damage the screen. But I have apple care and will expect a fix if that happens.

The magnet on the cover is surprisingly strong. At first I thought it would open easily but it didn't budge. Now I'm getting used to the amount of force needed, more than expected. Mine hasn't opened by itself yet, although I haven't put it in a laptop case and brought it out yet. I've had the side magnet slip off but not the magnet on the front, and I was spinning it around rather quickly and trying to open it at the same time to show someone something I was working on.

I personally hate the fact that the back is exposed and am very careful where I sit it. If there was a new Incase case I would have bought that instead. It is much nicer to get 3 levels of tilt in the iPad depending on where you are. Such is the annoyances of having something brand new.

The biggest problem here is that I can already see wear on the front of the cover. I don't think the leather is going to hold up for anyone putting this in a case with papers, pens, or anything with any kind of edge or texture. I thought the leather would be a bit more rugged and durable but it seems like they sacrificed that for style.

A big pain in the ass for me is that the way the case folds, the power button is on my left, and I'm right handed. That also means the volume buttons are on the bottom right when it's on my lap. Not ideal. There are no magnets on the opposite side of the iPad so I am stuck with it like this.

One thing I can say about Apple, they sure understand psychology. I am addicted to the sound of the magnet closing. Bastards!

If they come out with a case very soon (Incase) I might return this, but considering I waited online for 2 hours with a bunch of maniacs because I needed this for work, and was one of the first people to get one of these things, I may just keep it for sentimental reasons, or maybe just give it to the cat.

March 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterD from NY

D from NY - Wow, thank you for your comment, it is really useful to hear some hands on experience with the Smart Cover, and you gave us a laugh too!

March 13, 2011 | Registered CommenteriPad Creative

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