Apple files patent for iPad Smart Cover design
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Apple files patent for iPad Smart Cover design

An Apple patent (number 20120194308) for a foldable accessory device has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Said foldable device being the Smart Cover for the iPad.

A magnetic attachment mechanism and method is described. The magnetic attachment mechanism can be used to releasably attach at least two objects together in a preferred configuration without fasteners and without external intervention. The magnetic attachment mechanism can be used to releasably attach an accessory device to an electronic device. The accessory device can be used to augment the functionality of usefulness of the electronic device.

Here's Apple's summary of the invention: "An accessory unit includes at least a hinge span having a first magnetic element, a flap portion pivotally connected to the hinge span. In the described embodiment, the flap portion includes a plurality of segments all but one of which are substantially the same size and wherein one segment is longer that the other segments, wherein each segment includes a pocket that is about the same size as the corresponding segment, a rigid insert incorporated into each pocket, the rigid insert providing support for the associated segment, and a folding region between each of the segments arranged to allow the plurality of segments to fold with respect to each other.

"A first segment located at a first end of the flap portion and includes a magnetically attractable element and a second segment located at a second end of the flap portion includes a plurality of magnetic resources. When the first and second segments are folded one atop the other, all of the magnetic resources in the second segment magnetically attract the magnetically attractable element in the first segment to form a structure.

"A method of forming a support structure using a foldable accessory device, can be carried out by providing the foldable accessory device that includes a flap portion, the flap portion including at least a first segment and a second segment that magnetically attract each other, and wherein the first and second segments are foldable atop one another, folding the first and second segments such that the first and second segments overlay each other, and magnetically attaching the first and second segments to form a support structure.

"In another embodiment, a foldable accessory unit includes at least a foldable flap portion. In the described embodiment, the foldable flap portion includes a plurality of segments all but one of which are substantially the same size and wherein one segment is longer that the other segments, wherein each segment includes a pocket that is about the same size as the corresponding segment. The foldable flap also includes a rigid insert incorporated into each pocket, the rigid insert providing support for the associated segment, and a folding region between each of the segments arranged to allow the plurality of segments to fold with respect to each other. A first segment includes a plate formed of magnetically attractable metal embedded in a corresponding insert and wherein a second segment includes a magnet; and a magnetic element pivotally connected to the foldable flap portion, wherein the first and second segments fold together to form a folded structure."

The inventors are Andrew Lauder, Matthew D. Rohrbach, Daniel J. Coster, Christopher J. Stringer, Florence W. Ow, Jiang Ai, Jonathan Ive, Elvis M. Kibiti, John P. Ternus and Sean D. Lubner.

 
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