Nexus 7 has secret ‘smart cover’ magnets Google never mentioned, now what?

By , Jul 12, 2012

Google’s seven-inch tablet Nexus 7 is starting to crop up at resellers ahead of a mid-July release (yes I want one, too), but the search giant might run into trouble with Apple’s lawyers over its embedded magnetic display shut-off feature. A developer posted a video yesterday that doesn’t bode well for Asus, the maker of the Google-branded device. As vividly shown in the video included below, the magnetic sensor sits down near the tablet’s lower left-hand side. Wanna hear the funny bit?

Firstly, the clip.

The funny thing is, neither Asus nor Google nor anyone else in the Nexus 7 food chain never mentioned anything about the magnets.

This could mean two things:

1. there’s not only a Smart Cover style accessory in the works, but a range of accessories taking advantage of the magnetic sensor
2. Google is well-aware its implementation of the magnets will provoke sue-happy Apple so it reckoned it should keep it a secret for as long as possible

If you ask me, Apple will not hesitate to sue once this thing is everywhere.

Plus, Cupertino has already patented its coded magnet technology for the Smart Cover and won other patents related to the Smart Cover’s design (here and here), even if a guy from Colorado begs to differ.

According to Apple’s recruiting video embedded below, designing such a seemingly obvious thing as a Smart Cover was “a tremendous amount of work by a large number of people who through the course of this product have become genuine experts in new areas because they had to to figure out how to make this product”.

Case in point:

The difference between a good product and a great product is that attention to detail. Our implementation of magnets was a really challenging engineering task. One of the engineers on the team actually became an expert in doing computer simulations on magnetic field.

If Apple sued a bunch of Android vendors over the slide to unlock and rubber-band scrolling in iOS, why would they let Google copy its Smart Cover tech? Of course, we’re speculating here as it ins’t known (yet) if the magnets inside the Nexus 7 infringe upon Apple’s tech.

But there’s a far more important reason why Apple would want to take Google to court over magnetic sensors. The Nexus 7 is already hot and it could become huge, provided Google and its partner Asus manage to manufacture enough units.

Apple knows it very well (hence, iPad mini rumors) and is arguably waiting for an opportunity to remove its arch-enemy’s competing tablet from the marketplace by way of injunction.

Once Apple’s legal sharks smell blood, they’re going to move in for the kill.

IHS iSuppli estimates that Nexus 7 parts cost $151.75 for the $199 8GB version and $159.25 for the $249 16GB version, leaving Google with little profit after packaging, marketing, distribution, R&D, sales and other related costs.

On a final note, if Apple sues Google over the 7′s magnets, will they allow Redmond to get away with the Surface tablet and its Touch Cover, which takes more than a few magnetic cues from the iPad.

I know you hate lawsuits as much as I do. On the other hand, innovation should be recognized but not copied at the expense of the innovator, don’t you think?

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  • http://twitter.com/BUSfromRUS Alexander Buskin

    “for the $!99 8GB version” !99$? That’s a good price.
    Correct it.

  • Charles Valdez

    This is obviously written by an Apple fanboy

    • maurid

      Maybe because we’re in an Apple blog?!

  • LUFC_MOT

    Did Apple innovate when they stole Notification Centre? Oh no, that’s right, Apple don’t steal do they they just take something and make it better …. That’s how fanboys justify it in their minds.

    • Darkstar1062

      very good point. no one ever brings that up though right?

      • http://twitter.com/ImTannerC Tanner Covington

        Why should they? It’s a double standard. You could turn around and point this right back at Google for stealing everything they have from Apple.

      • Emre SÜMENGEN

        I’d say pinch to zoom then…

    • http://twitter.com/e_sj EDSJ

      Hahaha +1 for you LUFC_MOT. Very good point.

    • http://twitter.com/Max_Kas Max Kaslick

      Im not positive on this one but i’m pretty sure there weren’t any patents regarding notification center like feature for an OS

      • Dylan Knox

        But their is for slide to unlock, which is fucking stupid.

    • http://twitter.com/ImTannerC Tanner Covington

      *Sorry–double post.

    • http://twitter.com/ImTannerC Tanner Covington

      Just saying, depending on you’re view points and how you’re approaching this, that is extremely hypocritical. What about how Google stole slide to unlock and the page bounce thing? I’m not saying getting revenge is right, if that is what Apple is doing, but still, your accusation could be turned around and pointed right back at Google.

      • thor_molecules

        Apple didn’t invent slide to unlock. Google the Neonode N1.

    • http://twitter.com/Chindavon Chindavon

      Doh! Okay you got me on that one. BUT, the idea was first taken from an iPhone jailbreak app.

    • goofygreek

      Nope, apple fanboys say that apple invented everything. Even things that were created before the iphone, were stolen from apple. Apparently everyone steals from apple, and apple steals from no one. (a bit sarcastic in that.)

      • Kok Hean

        No, they reinvented everything :P

      • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

        Apple invented some stuff and other they reinvented, like they said about the iPhone, for example.

        But, at some time, companies grab ideas from each other and that is part of the evolution. Good ideas will always prevail and I don’t see anything wrong about that. The problem is that there are more companies getting more ideas from others than creating them or reinventing them… that’s why Apple is much more respected than other companies…

    • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

      I love fandroids because of that. Google now can copy EVERYTHING because Apple copied the “notification center” .. LMAO.

      “10000 features from iOS or iDevices? Sure, because.. Apple copied Notification center!”

      LMAO.

      • Outhig

        I know, whatever Google copies doesn’t matter anymore, because Apple have a similar notification system -.-

  • http://twitter.com/Chindavon Chindavon

    In the old days, when you steal, you get your hands cut off. Now-a-days, companies want to cut your balls off instead. Moral of the story; Don’t steal other people’s innovation!

  • http://twitter.com/ImTannerC Tanner Covington

    I kind of support Apple on this one. “Smart Covers” are something that Apple made; they brought us into being able to view our screen on a tablet by, in a sense, opening the cover of a book. Other people and companies should not be allowed to steal the innovative ideas Apple comes up with. (More or less this ONE idea) Yes, I AM calling it stealing; these other companies need to find their on nifty way to unlock their tablets, not steal Apple’s genius idea and technology.
    Now, don’t get me wrong, if they take Apples idea, re-create it and make it new, their own, then it’s fine by me, which might be what they are doing here. They still need to be careful as they are treading on thin ice.

    • thor_molecules

      Yours would be a good post if it were true. Blackberries have had this functionality for years.

      I don’t know if Apple has a patent for the smart cover, but I find it utterly ridiculous that when they rip ideas and implement them into their products, everyone ignores that it existed before. Yet when the same is done to them, it’s “stealing.”

      • http://twitter.com/ImTannerC Tanner Covington

        I haven’t heard, ever, anything about Rim using smart covers. Also, this isn’t giving Apple an excuse, but, IF a Blackberry smart cover does exist, it was never mainstreamed and probably unknown. Also, if it wasn’t patented and never formed properly, which I would assume it didn’t, I don’t think it is stealing an idea. I mean, they didn’t do it right and they, I assume, abandoned the idea. If smart covers weren’t popular at all and no one knew about them.. and they didn’t have a patent, then I would be fine.

        Anyways, this is all on speculation that Google stole the smart cover idea. It that’s not what they’re doing, I have no argument.

      • thor_molecules

        Dude, google it or better yet, ask anyone that’s ever owned a blackberry.
        They came with holsters that put the display to sleep via a magnet. This predates the iPhone, let alone the iPad by years.

        Considering that millions of people have purchased Blackberries, this is a well know feature probably only not known by people that have never owned one.

        Suffice to say, Apple undoubtedly “borrowed” this idea and implementation for the iPad.


        Sent from my mobile.

  • http://aflspace.com/ Phillip Molly Malone

    Okay totally know this is unlikely but what if there is no proof of the “feature” in design docs and Google call it a hardware fault?

    • Kok Hean

      I do think that it is a hardware fault. You can see the notification drawer come down a little.

  • http://www.youtube.com/myjailbreakmovies/ Jeff Benjamin

    I don’t know about this one. Google hasn’t come out to say what it is for. True, it looks like a case of thievery, but let’s give big G the benefit of the doubt. We still haven’t seen any “Smart Covers” for the Nexus — yet.

    • http://twitter.com/ImTannerC Tanner Covington

      I completely agree.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dejan-Ljepava/1153451343 Dejan Ljepava

    Who was first, chicken or egg? It was APPLE.

    • Dylan Knox

      fanboy. if you werent so blind to tge reality you lived in you’d understand Apple isn’t the answer to everything… dont get me wrong i like Apple,.but people oddly put way to much faith in a company whom creates devices that everyone else soo inovates and makes better. LikeMicrosoft and their new tableta for example.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dejan-Ljepava/1153451343 Dejan Ljepava

        first, it was my sarcastic comment that you obviously didnt get.
        second, iam ni fanboy – i have nokia n8 mobile phone, galaxy tab and ipad.
        and i love them all.

  • maurid

    Don’t know if I should, but I really feel sorry for Apple. All they’ve got left is lawsuits.

  • Syed Ali

    neither Asus nor Google nor anyone else in the Nexus 7 food chain never mentioned anything

    A double negative?
    Mr Zibreg, you can do better at grammar I am sure. Your just being lazy-tongued.

    • Syed Ali

      .. And it’s not a Nexus 7 food chain. It’s a production chain! Unless your saying Google is its own consumer?!

    • Syed Ali

      Sorry to digress.
      But poor grammar doesn’t digest well lol

      • SimonReidy

        “Your” not the only one it annoys :)

    • smtp25

      Whats with all the grammar police? Does it really matter? I’m picking you get all excited when you see a typo so you can post about it

  • http://www.facebook.com/randle1 Phil Randle

    I would side with google if the magnet didnt sleep the device, the whole ‘sleep’ the device when you close the cover part was coined by Apple, If google are smart, they wont release a cover to take advantage of the magnet cause the moment they do, there really is no way out of this one, and their shouldnt be, props to Apple cause the Smart Cover is still one of my favourite covers to date.

    • Dylan Knox

      dude your funny, but Apple definately didn’t “coin” that one.

  • thor_molecules

    The sleep/magnet thing goes back to Blackberry and probably even before. Y’all should do a bit of research before pulling this “Apple invented it” nonsense.

  • copperbum

    Cupertino and Redmond are not companies, they are the locations in which the companies are based.

    • Dylan Knox

      okay…?

    • SimonReidy

      The locations have also become nicknames for both companies over the years.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1849765376 Jordan Rushing

    Going to be honest with you, I think it all depends on how well it markets. I’d rather have a copy of a product if it’s used in more ways than the original, and is properly marketed as doing so as well. Do I think it’s right? Definitely not. But let’s get serious for a minute here. Would you rather have an expensive original? Or a cheap copy that looks the same, and does exactly the same thing? Case and point.
    While I’m all for innovation, I don’t like copying. But if someone copies something and makes it better, is that not innovation?

    • Emre SÜMENGEN

      It really doesn’t have anything to do with what you’d rather have…

      It’s about protecting the innovator, the researcher and the people trying to fund these projects, whether it’s Apple, Google, Blackberry, Microsoft or Nokia…

      By the way, I’d rather have an expensive original, rather than a cheap copy…

      Getting ideas from an existing solution, changing/adapting it and making it better IS creating a new solution… If anything is implemented that way, well, there’s no problem.

  • RaptorOO7

    Funny how RIM already was using magnet based technology to sleep their phones long before Apple ever did. Once again a great job by the USPTO. Magnets used to sleep a device, nuff said.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.burgel.7 Kevin Bürgel

    F*ck you google, just f*ck you

    • Dylan Knox

      what did they do to piss you off? you put all your money into their products and have something go wrong only to have them say sorry you can fuck off, but please pay almost full price for a replacement that will break just as easy? oh wait, thats Apple

  • Dylan Knox

    Apple can’t sue for this. RIM had this exact feature in Blackberrys. My work phone (Blackberry) sleeps when i put it in its case because of a magnet. And RIM has had this feature for a very long time and i find hard to believe that Apple would sue for something they themselves could so easily be sued for. And to all you fanboys who say apple inovated the magnet cover thing, your plain stupid. You cant really say apple inovated old technology when its exactly the same as it was five years ago… only on a different device (caugh* blackberry)

  • seyss

    Fail. I’d be ashamed by the lack of innovation. MS has no shame already.

    • maurid

      I KNO RITE?!?! APPLE, LIKE, INVENTED EVERYTHING AND EVRYONE, LIKE, WANTS TOO COPY THEM!!!!!1!one1

      YOU FOOLISH BASTARD.

  • dragonthc

    You’re all morons. The magnets are there to hold any pogo pin docks in place, it’s how pogo pins work.