iPhone Life magazine

Smart Cover = Dumb Case?

In addition to the iPad 2, Apple's Smart Cover has been widely anticipated.  There is a lot to like about this accessory.  As the Smart Cover is opened, the iPad wakes up... and goes to sleep as the Smart Cover closes.  The Smart Cover peels back to form a stand, either for watching movies or typing.  And most significantly, it attaches via magnets... check out the tear-down from iFixit.  But this may be the iPad's version of AntennaGate.

Smart Covers tear down by iFixit

First, don't worry.  Magnets are not going to effect the internal solid state circuitry of the iPad.  True, if held close enough, magnets can cause problems for hotel keys, credit cards and magnetic-based media like hard drives.  But I don't anticipate that becoming a real problem.  The bigger issue is people will treat their Smart Covered iPad as if the two pieces were one.  Instead of fully supporting the iPad, users might be supporting the cover.  Imagine holding the iPad, with a Smart Cover open, like a book.  As you let go with your right hand, to touch the screen, the iPad is now supported only by the magnets.  They're strong but would you want to bet your iPad on how strong?

iPad 2 Smart Cover

It's not just a theory.  At least one unfortunate owner cracked his brand new iPad 2 within 48 hours, because his daughter pulled it off the coffee table by grabbing the Smart Cover.

I'm hoping that case manufacturers will pick up the ball and develop even better cases that provide full protection, make the iPad 2 easy to grip, and leverage the smart features (fold-to-stand, magnets, instant on/off) of Apple's Smart Covers.  But until then, keep a good grip on your iPad!

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Todd Bernhard's picture

Todd Bernhard is founder of No Tie Software, an app developer specializing in Ringtones and Sound FX including AutoRingtone.

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip, but over the years, Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62.

In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.