The Smart Covers for iPad 2 Might Have Been Inspired By Japanese Bath Lids

The Smart Covers for iPad 2 Might Have Been Inspired By Japanese Bath Lids

They aren’t much good at protecting your iPad from a fall, but if all you want is something to protect the screen and prop your iPad 2 up for typing or movie watching, the new Smart Covers are the bee’s knees. Made of ribbed, folding polyurethane, they attach to the iPad using magnets, and not only is merely peeling a corner of one up enough to unlock your iPad…. the inside of the smart cover will even clean and polish your screen when it’s attached.

Very neat, but it looks like Apple had some design inspiration for their iPad 2 smart covers: as TUAW notes, the new Smart Covers have an eerie resemblance to a common style of Japanese bath tub lids. It just goes to show: one of the hallmarks of good design is in being endlessly adaptable to a wide-range of problems.

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  • Roger Chucker

    Wish Steve would at least acknowledge this source of inspiration when gloating about how phenomenal and magical it is on stage. This is kind of intellectually dishonest arrogance is one thing that keeps me from admiring him and his company, even though I’m truly blown away by their products.

  • Guest

    The iForeskins will assure Apple tablet dominance for years to come.

  • dude

    Aren’t most inventions inspired from some observation or experience? And yet when others don’t reveal the source of their inspiration publicly, they are not called intellectually dishonest or arrogant.

    How about Jonathan Ive using Dieter Rams designs as inspiration? He may share this with people in private, but on stage or in Apple’s marketing materials? Of course not. Is he then intellectually dishonest and arrogant as well? Come on Roger, this makes some sense to you.

    The fact that this issue keeps you from admiring one of the most influential people and companies of our time actually not only shows your biased against Steve Jobs and Apple, but also how flawed your qualifications are for those who are to be admired.

  • Fwdaj1724

    are u serious? a tub cover? dishonest?! wow…..for one you cant prop a tub up using these things and they dont have magnets… so a way to fold an object is stealing…wow

  • mojohojo

    or inspired by the Incase Convertible magazine jacket?

  • RepV

    This goes to show that when you are an Apple hater/idiot like “Roger Chucker” here, you will just hate anything from Apple. You call Apple dishonest because the designer was inspired by others. What a fool. Roger must be an Obama’s Democrat supporter who are not used to finer things in life.

  • poknat

    How do you know this was what inspired it and assume that its dishonesty and arrogance? In this world there are many similar ideas that get built independently and just because someone finds them and it looks like they are very similar, doesn’t mean they were inspired by it. Even if they were would you honestly expect Steve Jobs to say, awesome cover inspired by Japanese bathtub cover, come one obvious bias. Of course I expect the typical accusation of being an apple fanboy…

  • Roger Chucker

    Hey pondscum… try to give a little more coherent response than that… I didn’t say it is wrong to be inspired.. what I disagree with is the lack of acknowledgement on their part coupled with an over-the-top gloating. but I guess that nuanced argument is too difficult morons like you.

  • Roger Chucker

    I see admiring a company and its associated personalities quite different from admiring the products. I like Apple’s vertical integration and attention to user experience but I can’t stand that man’s arrogant intellectual dishonesty on such a public stage (even if they don’t stream it live).

    And yes I lost a lot of respect for Jon Ive when even after being featured in the same documentary as Dieter, did not even acknowledge the latter’s influence on his work.

    Other companies do not merit this same level of criticism only because (a) they don’t necessarily gloat about it on an event where to which the entire media world is riveted, and (b) their proclamations about their “inventions” don’t get so much market attention. If they do, I will level the same criticism towards them.

    But hey, thanks for the civilized counter-argument ;)

  • Roger Chucker

    My point is simple – if you are going to spend a good portion of your presentation on your invention/innovation and even post a video demonstrating it on your website, you better have something truly original. If it is an inspiration, the best thing to do is to at least mention it. I give Steve props for acknowledging the Kindle’s uniqueness as an eBook reader when he first introduced iPad, last year. And I will call you an Apple fanboy because you see this similarity between the the bathtub cover and the “smart cover” as just an instance of “similar ideas getting built independently and looking very similar”. But you’re entitled to your bias and I am entitled to what you perceive as an anti-Apple bias.

  • m3kw

    THe covers aren’t revolutionary in any way, so it will look like something for sure. Pieces of plastic in strips, and you don’t expect it to look like anything else in this world?

  • m3kw

    THe covers aren’t revolutionary in any way, so it will look like something for sure. Pieces of plastic in strips, and you don’t expect it to look like anything else in this world?

  • Robert Pruitt

    Can the er.. iTub bathtub cover allow you to mount your bathtub sideways? Does the microfilm on the back of the bathtub cover clean the water in the bath? Does it have magnetic and detachable hinges?
    Standard hot tub panels are sectional too. This case is innovative and highly functional. Let’s give credit where credit is due.

  • Michael gillam

    The general concept is by no means novel. I highly doubt there was ONE source of inspiration. I believe apple just made a novel use out of it.

  • zaj

    It’s funny that you think what Roger said makes him an “Apple hater/idiot.” He said that he is “truly blown away by their products.” I’m fairly certain that he isn’t a hater. Instead, he is someone that respects the company’s ability to produce quality products, but dislikes how Jobs handles the spotlight and perhaps fails to acknowledge sources of inspiration. I’ll be honest, even if the smart cover was inspired by a bath lid, I don’t think that it necessarily demands recognition because it does so much more than a bath lid. However, Roger’s opinion has its merits, and you addressed none of them. All you did was misconstrue his rationale for disliking Apple’s approach and call him an “Obama’s Democrat supporter,” which, apparently, you must think is a big burn. If you are going to criticize someone else’s opinion, please address the flaws in the opinion, and do not mindlessly attack the person who has that opinion.

  • Stevejobs

    Can the er.. iTub bathtub cover allow you to mount your bathtub sideways? ?? Hai

    Does the microfilm on the back of the bathtub cover clean the water in the bath? ?? Hai

    Does it have magnetic and detachable hinges? ?? Hai

    ????????????????????????????????????Steve Jobs??????????????????????

  • Robert Pruitt

    Well, I’ll be jiggered.

  • John

    I remember last year Apple was suing HTC over patent infringements used in their devices. I can’t remember which one but I think it was multi-touch. Steve Jobs was quoted as saying companies should innovate and create new technology instead of stealing it from Apple.

    I have read several articles about this innovative new “smart case” that puts the ipad to sleep and wakes it up using magnets. Apparently Apple just invented the same technology that I’ve been using on my work blackberry for over 5 years now.

    Hey Apple and Apple loving media, its not new and innovative just because Apple slaps their fruity little logo on it.

  • CharliK

    I don’t buy this whole ‘cleans your screen’ talk. soft and doesn’t scratch it, sure. I’ll go with that. but how can something that doesn’t move do any cleaning

    that said, I do like the idea. I carry my ipad in a bag and it’s a snug fit with a case. but I want something on the screen to keep it from getting dirty or scratched if the keys fall into the wrong section. So I might check these out.

    Although what I really like is a hand strap. That’s why I got a case at all. Someone make me one that just fits snug on the corners etc and I’ll be happy

  • CharliK

    or maybe Apple bought the design off them.

  • Barbara

    I guess the inspiration thing is because it’s blue? Come on. Anything that folds up can be said to be an “inspiration”.

  • Taz Goldstein

    The Smart Cover may also have been inspired by WeeWee Pads: http://twitpic.com/45uali

  • Andricopoulos

    What About the i Pod, the Rio MP3 player and the Sony Walkman was the inspiration, everyone builds their ideas from past inventions. Apple got the idea for the GUI with a mouse from Xerox, who were then copied by Microsoft etc. Ford mass produced the first car, who were then copied by all today’s auto-makers. Even Google copied and improved on older search engines, Facebook on older Social sites. The fact progress involves copying and improving on other peoples ideas.

  • koopapoopas

    Apple are total rip-off artists.

    The Smart Cover reminds me of how the Apple ][c had a carrying handle that you could use to prop it up in a similar angle.  Also reminds the Newton MessagePad 2000′s screen cover. The pattern on the front is also kind of like the original Apple iPad case. Then again the colors and pattern look sort of like iPod Socks when they are stretched out.

  • minikitty

    You are not Japanese! Your Japanese writing is very weired and wrong. Don’t pretend to be a Japanese!

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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