magnets Stories January 10, 2015

Apple showcases iPad with creative Smart Cover storefront display at Apple Store

Apple has had some interesting retail storefront displays for the iPhone, iPad and Mac in the past, but its latest effort all but tops the cake. At the iconic Apple Store on Regent Street in London, the Cupertino-based company now has a row of iPads on display with colorful Smart Covers that automatically open and close.

This video (from Vid.Me) does not explain how the Smart Covers are able to move on their own, although magnets underneath the shelf are almost certainly involved. Anyone who has used a Smart Cover knows that the accessory is not actually able to open and close by itself, but that hasn’t stopped some customers from inquiring about the trick at Apple Stores.

magnets Stories April 19, 2012

With all of the controversy and media attention Apple has experienced since The New York Times’  “How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work” article, a post from Motherboard (via iFixit) provides yet another reason why Apple makes its products in China—rare earths. While noting China’s cheap labor and lack of environmental regulations certainly contribute to Apple’s decision, the post explained how Apple’s use of rare earth elements might make it hard to move manufacturing elsewhere:

But there’s another important reason why Apple and other manufacturers have their heels stuck in Chinese mud. iPad manufacturing, like the manufacturing of other electronics, requires a significant amount of rare earth elements, the 17 difficult-to-mine elements used in all kinds of green technology. It’s hard to say exactly what rare earths are in an iPad, since Apple is really tight-lipped about their materials

iFixit ‘s Elizabeth Chamberlain spoke with Cambridge engineering professor Dr. Tim Coombs who “guesses that there may be lanthanum in the iPad’s lithium-ion polymer battery, as well as ‘a range of rare earths to produce the different colours’ in the display.” He also thinks the magnets in Smart Covers and the iPad itself contain neodymium alloy. So how does rare earths keep Apple tied to China? The report explained: expand full story

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