iPad 2 Smart Cover Teardown: Magnet Magic

Here at OSM we often bring you news on teardowns from our friends at iFixit, which enable us to have a really good look inside devices. Recent ones we’ve covered include one on the new 2011 MacBook Pro and also the Nintendo 3DS. We also gave you details at the weekend of a teardown on the Apple iPad 2 and for the first time, the iFixit team has now completed a teardown on a case.

However this of course, is not just a case, it’s the new Smart Cover especially designed by Apple for the iPad 2. We reported on the Smart Cover when it was announced , nothing how nifty it was, waking the iPad from sleep on clicking the cover open and turned it off again on closing the cover. We also noted the ingenious use of magnets holding the cover in place and it was this that fascinated the iFixit team who wanted to find out how the magnets work together so seamlessly.

IFixit used magnetic viewing film in an effort to reveal the magnets at work in the Smart Cover and iPad 2 and found the Smart Cover had one magnet that shut down the iPad 2’s screen, while the rest of the magnets in it are used for attaching the iPad 2 to the side or for creating the stand out of the Smart Cover. Many people could not work out how the Smart Cover adhered itself so perfectly to the iPad 2 but it turned out there was a row of magnets, some longer than others, built into the left side of the tablet and another row of magnets on the same side of the Smart Cover.

The teardown then goes on to explain how the polarity of the magnets alternates in the iPad and does so in the opposite way in the Smart Cover, which ensures the fit. We then get a good look at the magnets in the iPad 2 which were noted to be extremely strong. The magnets were found to not have special properties and were the standard two-pole type. On taking apart the Smart Cover a stack of magnets were found along with a metal plate, which forms the stand with the use of the magnets. The iFixit team once again noted the strength of the magnets which when placed two inches apart instantly sprang together. The total number of magnets used to make this thing work is 31, 10 in the iPad 2 and another 21 in the Smart Cover.

Usually iFixit give a repairability score where 10 is the best and jokingly gave the Smart Cover a score of 0/10. Of course the Smart Cover was not designed to be repaired as once it’s been sliced open that would be pretty difficult. It’s certainly an intriguing look at a very clever design and you can see it step-by-step at the iFixit link above. We’re certainly glad to have an in-depth view of how this Smart Cover works and look forward to our next iFixit teardown. You may also be interested in our earlier article that explains how Apple made the iPad 2 so light. What are your thoughts on the Smart Cover for the iPad 2 and it’s unique design? Let us know with your comments.