« The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind | Main | Twitter - An Abstracted Communications Medium »

What makes a Smart Cover so smart?

The iPad smart Cover is one of the most loved Apple accessories, even receiving a 439-word section on John Gruber's second iPad post. While most of this praise is probably deserved, there's an exceptionally brilliant part that i've never seen mentioned anywhere else. 

Apple often demonstrates that the best way to watch movies on an iPad 2 is with the Smart Cover rolled up, to act as a base to a leaning iPad. However, if you do this, you'll quickly learn that the sound quality can often be a little lacking in this position. The reason for this is simple, the sound is directed away from you. A simple solution for this is to place your hand and cup the speaker. Suddenly, your iPad's volume will seem to have increased. 

So what makes a Smart Cover so smart? That you don't have to use it like this. 

Recently, i've been folding the cover behind the iPad. This does something simple: it reflects the sound back in your direction. This is wholly more comfortable than holding your hand to cup the speaker and takes little effort to hold.

Of course, this isn't the first time that Apple have used a reflective sound system. The iMac G5 of 2004, had it also. This was announced at Macworld Expo Paris in August where Phil Schiller stated:

You probably noticed "I didn't see the speakers there—there were no speaker grills". We've designed the speakers so they're mounted in the bottom and reflect off the desktop and bounce right back to you.

 He demonstrated this with a slide:

Every iMac and Apple Cinema Display has used this since. I'm not entirely sure this was purposeful for the iPad Smart Cover, but it makes me exceedingly happy.