Apple’s implementation of the Smart Keyboard/Smart Connector port for the iPad Pro may just be the tip of the iceberg for what the company has planned for such technology. Apple has applied for a patent (number 20150308470) with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for “magnetic preloading of joints” (no marijuana jokes, please).
In theory, the invention could allow two iPads to be connected and work as one, Mac laptops could quickly couple with an external display, a large screen could connect to a deck with stereo speakers, etc.
As for the $169 Smart Keyboard (pictured) it’s a full-sized keyboard in a thin, durable design that attaches to iPad Pro’s Smart Connector port. This eliminates the need for a separate battery, on/off switch or Bluetooth pairing. The Smart Keyboard is foldable and can transform into a Smart Cover.
Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “A first component is coupled to a second component by one or more joints. Magnetic force between at least a first magnetic and second magnetic unit preloads the joint by placing the joint in compression. The first and second magnetic units may be respectively coupled to the first and second components.
“The magnetic force acts as a retentive force between coupled components and/or the joint and operates to resist one or more tensile and/or other opposing forces. In some cases, the first magnetic unit may be a shield, such as a direct current shield, that protects one or more components from a magnetic field of the second magnetic unit.”