Today I received my Nexus 7 “Smart Cover”. Okay, it’s really just a bulky case, but it closely mimics the function of Apple’s innovative means of screen protection. I ordered it simply to compare it to Apple’s original version of the Smart Cover.

As you have probably heard, the Nexus 7 contains an unadvertised feature — magnets on the front right-side of the device, which very much imitate the iPad’s sleep/wake functionality.

Should Apple be upset with this unadvertised feature?

I’m assuming that Google and their Partner, Asus, resisted the urge to advertise the feature considering all of the litigation currently taking place between Apple and Android partners.

Although Google isn’t touting this as a feature, it’s obviously there, and it works exactly like it does on the iPad.

On Amazon’s website, one of the key features noted about the case I purchased was the “Automatic Sleep/Wake Function”. This is a feature that makes the case work like Apple’s Smart Cover. It contains magnets located in the correct place to interact with the internal magnets on the Nexus 7, thus providing the sleep/wake Smart Cover-esque functionality.

Interestingly enough, the actual package that the case comes in mentions nothing of this feature. Not one word. The feature is solely revealed on the Amazon website. I don’t know about you, but I find that to be peculiar.

At first I thought the function of the knock-off Smart Cover was gimped, and that it would only wake the Nexus 7 up to the lock screen. But after fiddling around with Android’s security, I was able to replicate the iPad’s sleep/wake functionality pretty much to a tee — unlocking the device to the Home screen without the need for a passcode, if done within a certain preset grace period.

This is, admittedly, a pretty shameless rip off, and it’s got me wondering why Google or Asus thought it would be smart to include it with everything going on in the legal landscape? Did they seriously think that not advertising the feature would be enough to let it slide under the radar? Not that I’m for all of the legal turmoil, because I’m not, it’s just that Asus seems to have left themselves open for litigation here.

By the way, the case itself is decent. It’s bulky, but it was designed to function as a stand, and includes a back cover for protection. It’s more akin to Apple’s new Smart Case, but it’s still quit a bit more bulky. The cover doesn’t open and close as seamlessly as it does with the real Smart Cover on the iPad, so the effect isn’t nearly as pronounced.

What do you think? How should Apple respond, or just let it go?

  • Let it go.

  • i completely agree with how iffy this is. If Google just came out and announced the feature along with the Nexus 7 then maaaaaaaaaaaaybe it would be ok.
    The fact that its almost like a secret unless you know what to look for makes me think that Google knew it was pushing its luck but still wanted sales against Apple.

    I guess if the Nexus 7 gets banned from the US, they might as well sell people some covers with it…

    • varis

      New functionality in iPhone: “game-changing”, “feature”
      New functionality in other products: “pushing their luck”, “iffy”

      Apple’s only claim to this feature is that they did it before Google, but hundreds of other companies did it before Apple. (And you were all strangely silent about that at the time. Come to think of it, Apple has always leveraged other tech and claimed it as their own: their first computers were copies of Xerox tech, and OSX is just UNIX + lipstick by way of NeXTSTEP.) Apple did not invent all of the little chips in the iPhone, they purchased them from companies that had been improving the designs for years as those chips were used in other devices. Apple’s biggest claim is their design, so yeah, they deserve credit for making the plastic shell be that particular shape.
      (That’s not entirely true… Apple’s greatest invention has *always* been the mythology that drives fanboy myopia.)

      • Geeks on Hugs

        Exactly the designs are nice but their most valuable product is their mystique which in the context of a mega-corporation is called marketing. Steve Jobs personae was a product. In reality he was well known to be a douche bag.

        I’m not suggesting a theory here, these are facts. His own family, his own wife has acknowledged it. He denied paternity of his first daughter and left her to grow up on welfare. The children that he accepted from birth were often neglected.

        He restructured Pixar in such a way as to take all the shares from the employees ensuring he and two others from his inner circle were the only ones to receive the fortune from the Disney buyout.

        When he’s cut costs by laying off employees he, who lets remember was a billionaire, gave a severance package worth…nothing. When his underlings with a conscience suggested that they need to give something he made jokes and laughed at the plight of the “little people” who were unceremoniously dumped. Maybe you got to keep your pink slip as thanks for all your years of service.

        Steve Jobs was evil and Apple’s culture and business practices, which were micro managed by this man, is also evil. But yes, the products sure are pretty.

  • hamzino

    i would like a cover like this for my ipad 2. as apples smart cover only protects the glass screen

    • Heard of a smart case?

    • David Isais

      They do have one. It’s called the smart case. They released it this year.

  • Another nice thing Google & Friends got being inspired on Apple products. Come one… isn’t this provocative? They know Apple do not want their ideas to be copied and yet, they keep doing it? lol

    The same way Samsung decided to laugh at Apple’s face delivering a tablet with the same charger, the same styled box and the same cable as the iPad.

    And yet, people think Apple is the bad guy.
    Get your shit together, people.

    • tturner23

      Blackberry’s had magnets years before the iPhone was even a prototype

    • goofygreek

      Apple has copied a lot of shit from others to make the iphone what it is today, but apparently no one gives a shit about that. Why dont you do a little research before you sound like a jack-ass.

      • macboy74

        Like what? Please tell me what phone did what the iPhone did before 2007?

      • goofygreek

        One, I don’t know why I said iPhone, I should’ve said I devices. Two, I said copied a lot of shit, either hardware or software. Three, if you want a list, just check out apples list of features iOS has now, a lot of it is from jailbreak devs, some of it is from android, (notification center for example, and the call reject text reply feature(I think android had that before any other os)), and hardware is from Sony, rim, Nokia, maybe some others. They didn’t copy one thing and replicate it, they copied multiple things and made them work together. And yes, I know apple did not copy everything. Some of it is actually created by apple.

      • macboy74

        I had mobilenotifier on my iphone when android came out in late 2008. Everything else you say is all bs. Apple changed everything about smartphones with the iphone in 2007. Why is that so hard for people to admit?

      • maurid

        THERE IS NOTHING TO ADMIT. WHY ARE YOU SO BLIND, FOR FUCK’S SAKE?

      • goofygreek

        See, you even said it your self. Changed not created. So, you had the reject call with a text message feature built into ios for years now?

      • varis

        Because a) it’s only true if you intentionally ignore the thousands of products that drove the development of the small, powerful chips cobbled together to make the iPhone and the thousands of products that came out concurrently using the exact same tech, and b) – and I know you will not understand this, but I will put it here anyway – most people don’t base their personal identity and sense of self-worth on the piece of plastic covering those chips, however well-designed it may be.

        Putting your fingers in your ears and saying “la la la la I can’t hear you” does not negate the fact that others have spoken… it just makes you ignorant of what was said.

      • Because it isn’t true. Saying it over and over again doesn’t make it so, blindly ignoring the facts doesn’t either. Smartphones were about, Nokia was producing a touch screen icon driven smartphone years before Apple, all Apple did is pour some extra glitz on and market it to everyone, rather than market them as niche products. As always Apple’s real innovation is marketing, why is that so hard for people to grasp?

    • Imahottguy

      My first generation RAZR had magnetic wake/sleep for the display. I found this out when a magnetic pouch I had purchased kept activating the display when it was folded and put away.

  • Dont care. Aiming for MS tablet with fully functional w8

    • ExRoot

      Yep. I agree. W8 on a tablet will be awesome.

  • Ignacio Irigoyen

    Google & Asus argument: We just put magnets to use with other staff. it is not our fault that some other manufacturer created a smart cover….

    As long it is not Asus or Google the one that release smart covers I think Apple can not touch them

  • Yet another copy by Samsung…. No innovation what so ever.

    • J M

      Your comment is one that people use when they talk about apple fanboys, and the herd of apple “sheep”. If you understood even the basics of the Nexus 7, you would know that it is a device manufactured by Google, not Samsung.

      • Matthew Agostino

        its not
        manufactured by Google, its asus…whos the sheep?

      • J M

        I should have been more precise. Rather than being a device manufactured, designed and created outside of google (like the poster implied by saying “another copy by Samsung”), Google is intimately involved in design discussions/decisions of the actual device.

      • Geeks on Hugs

        It’s Google branded, along with Asus. By your exacting standards apple products are manufactured by child slaves in China.

    • Michael Tucker

      Blackberry invented this magnet on/off
      “No innovation ” notification center anybody?

      • Christer Larsson

        Really. My ericsson phone from 1997 had it?!?

  • sparky

    it’s a simple feature. Microsoft’s keypad cover has the same feature. Apple should just sue everybody?

  • Apple didn’t invent he Smart Cover, what are you people bitching about?

  • Srujan Mishra

    Blackberry was the first to come up with this magnetic sensor technology. I remember when I was using my BB Tour smartphone; it came with a cool case from BB. When the case was opened, the Tour would automatically turn ON. Did you guys notice?

    • macboy74

      And that has what to do with the iPad tablet and the nexus 7 tablet?

      • In the post if we are saying that google shouldn’t have done this or are trying to hide from apple, then apple should have hidden it from Blackberry as they don’t have this technology patented. Blackberry had this function long before ipad was even launched. So google can easily use this until Apple says one day it is their original idea..

      • maurid

        Oh my god, well that’s a pretty retarded comment if I ever saw one.

      • Dana Pearson

        Applebots unite! Wimps… fear not the jelly baby… it will set you free!

      • varis

        Exactly.

        But since you merely meant to be smug rather than add to the dialogue, I’ll spell it out: any random comment about anything would have as much to do with ‘the iPad tablet and the nexus 7 tablet’ as the post itself does, which is to say not in the slightest. The post seeks to raise indignation about an issue that doesn’t exist, which is basically what the previous comment said.

        Whether or not the previous comment was a complete waste of time, when people such as yourself refuse to acknowledge that the world existed before Apple, is a topic worth discussing… but you’d just try to derail that too, and history has shown that teaching rocks to fly is more rewarding than trying to educate fanboys.

  • Matt Wiener

    A magnet to sleep and wake devices. I had that on a phone 10 years ago. I don’t think Apple has a case in this case. Now if the magnet held the cover on like apples smart cover you might have something to write about.

  • Seriously, companies need to stop copying Apple & need to create something on their own. There’s no innovation in a marketplace where everyone copies the apparent leader. There’s no competition when products blatantly copy from the market leading product. Clearly Google has no vision for the Android OS or hardware. How sad

    • Michael Tucker

      Blackberry invented this. Speaking of blatantly copying, notification center anybody?

    • varis

      I wish I thought you were joking, but I’ve heard too many similar things (from people who were entirely serious) for so long that I don’t really hold out much hope that such comments – which look like satire from The Onion – will turn out to be anything other than actual fanboy delusions.

  • iPhart

    Article made from shameless iboy:)
    Repeat loud with me, iboys:
    APPLE DID NOT INVENT MAGNETIC ON/OF

  • iPhart

    APPLE DID NOT INVENT MAGNETIC ON/OF

  • Personally, I don’t think anybody should be able to “own” am idea. Everyone has ideas. Therefore they should be everybody’s property.

    • Geeks on Hugs

      It is the nature of information to be free.

      • varis

        And it is the nature of small minds to use every tool at their disposal trying to squelch that freedom.

        The part I really don’t get is that not even Apple’s products exist in a vacuum… they aren’t even a technology company, they are a design company.

  • Like others have said, magnetic “on/off” has been around forever. Google/Asus didn’t make the cover, so Apple can’t go after them for it. It would take literally 5 minutes to make a cover like that with a sewing machine and two tiny magnets.

  • haridsv

    Am I the only one noticing that people are slowly coming to their senses, including possibly many Apple fanboys? If this same article was published an year back, many commentators would have immediately lashed at Google/Asus, unlike now, as most seem to be sensible. I see a clear change in the tone of the articles themselves now a days… except this one.

    • maurid

      I agree, it seems as if some people are recovering from their Apple brainwash.

  • AMB_07

    Well Jeff, you just sank to a new low…

  • Dan

    People should stop complaining about stuff like this. This is how competition works, someone invents a feature, then another company tries to build on that and improve it. That’s how we end up with great products.

    • Geeks on Hugs

      I agree the intellectual property system under our laws is dysfunctional and is harmful to progress and the economy. Patents are being used as a weapon that only the wealthy can afford and use it to destroy the dreams of the less powerful. However in this case that’s not in question. The technology shown here was NOT invented by Apple in any case.

  • Geeks on Hugs

    My fridge has a smart door.

  • Geeks on Hugs

    LOL there are people out there who think Steve Jobs was another Edison, a genius inventor who hatched all the ideas apple sold. If jobs was a genius he was just a marketing genius. In reality he was psychopathic monster yet the apple faithful think he’s some kind of artist or brilliant inventor. Even more bizarre is some notion of him as some kind of humanitarian or some force for any kind of goodness in the world. so yeah I can see how the author of this article would just assume that any kind of goodness must have come from steve jobs. There is so much delusion. Steve Jobs took other peoples ideas and then expertly presented them along with himself…and it was as good as the second coming of jesus to A consumerist nation. The Steve Jobs who’s passing led to such outpouring grief never existed. That was another well sold product.

    There are more than a few that honest to god believe that jobs invented the graphical user interface, the mouse…even smart phones and tablets. What kind of short attention span are we dealing with seriously.

  • Geeks on Hugs

    OMG, when I read the article I assumed some level of good faith on the part of the author… A delayed lock…really Jeff? You think Apple invented that too? WOW. Dude. That feature abounds. This is crazy Jeff, especially that video.

  • Sony Ericsson P900 was pretty much an iPhone way before, 2007…

  • maurid

    No, Apple did NOT invent Magnetic ON/OFF, but it did however PATENT it. Basically, it called dibs on it 🙂

    • varis

      The large body of prior art would make such a patent unenforceable. Having a patent and being able to sue using that patent are two very different things, since the USPTO adopted their ‘patent now, let the courts decide later’ policy.

  • maurid

    Well, seems like there is a “thumb-down” fest on the comment section of this post. Oh, I pitty the iFagboys. No… wait, I don’t.

  • Bradley Patterson

    This is also very similar to the way Windows Mobile Smartphones and PDA’s would wake up when you removed the stylus from its holder on the phone/PDA.

  • Dana Pearson

    Grow up, little I boy… next you’ll say I should rip out my kitchen cabinets cause they have magnets like someone else’s…oh and my car has wheels…oy! Nissan stole that idea too…

  • varis

    “This is a feature that makes the case work like Apple’s Smart Cover”

    No, this is a feature that existed for years before Apple used it. Apple would be wise to just let ‘it’ go, because there is no ‘it’.

    (This tendency to conveniently forget that the world existed prior to whichever Apple product the reviewer has in their hand might be good for drumming up page views and stoking the fires of fanboy irritation, but out in the real world these straw-man arguments are irrelevant and tedious.)

  • varis

    Don’t do it bro, it’s a trap!

  • If you consider this to be a shameless rip off, do you consider BMW, Bentley Rolls Royce to all be a shameless rip off from Ford? No.

    I hate it when girly-Apply fans bitch about anything else. Everyone knows that real geeks and techies prefer to stay clear of apple because they are years behind. iOS6 has ripped off so much from Android, I can not wait for the “biggest company in the world” to be sued.

    Apple rely on Linux for their desktop computers, because they lack the skills to produce anything for themselves, they switched and relied on PC processors because their own stuff was rubbish. They brought somebody else touchscreen technology because they lacked the skills to design their own.

    Apple are rubbish, they just rip everything off

  • Prakesh Vaheis

    Ah, lots of people have already responded in the same way I would- the screen wake through magnetic covers was around long before the ipad.
    I remember being fascinated by my dad’s blackberry, because I couldn’t work out how it knew when I took it out of the cover.
    Shame that nowadays many technologies that are shared/common are assumed by the public as an ‘outrageous copy of Apple’s innovation’. 🙁