updated 03:30 am EDT, Wed March 21, 2012
New iPad requires a particular polarity
Earlier this week, MacNN noted that despite similar specifications, some iPad 2 accessories don't quite work with the third-generation iPad. Form-fitting accessories such as hard-plastic shells, for example, may not fit the iPad's slightly thicker depth. Reports of inconsistencies with both Apple branded Smart Covers and third-party covers that offered the same functionality has been clarified by an enterprising user, reports Mashable.
Photographer Mark Booth has posted a video that unravels the mystery. Ahead of the debut of the new iPad, Apple began making Smart Covers that oriented the built-in magnets to a specific polarity, ostensibly to solve the problem of unintentionally putting the iPad 2 to sleep when the Smart Cover was flipped onto the backside of the tablet.
Booth explains that the iPad 2 sensors do not care about polarity, but the new iPad does -- so newer Smart Covers made by Apple in the later part of 2011 work correctly with the new iPad, as do third-party covers that happen to have gotten the polarity correct. Older Smart Covers and similar third-party covers no longer work, or work inconsistently.
Booth indicated that he's heard that Apple Stores may exchange improperly-working Smart Covers for newer ones if customers can demonstrate the issue. Apple has not commented publicly about the change and solutions for third-party covers will be up to the individual manufacturers. Booth points out in a late update that the maker of the cases featured in his video, Maroo, is offering free replacements for cases that don't work to their customers. [via Mark Booth via Mashable]