The magnets are inside the case of the tablet to help the Apple iPad Smart Case automatically close in the front without using a fastener. If there is a bit of interesting technology involved in the patent, it is the magnetic shield used to block the magnets inside the stand from say, wiping the information off of your credit cards. The shield also "allows for significant increases in magnetic field strength when compared to similarly configured, unshielded products."
One use of the magnetic stand in an automobile was described in the application. The stand could be mounted on a car's roof frame where it could support a tablet which would be hanging down in the area of the windshield where the rear-view mirror is currently located. The tablet wold be used to allow the driver to see in real-time what is going on behind him. Another use of the stand would have it connecting two tablets together, via a wired or wireless connection. The increased magnetic strength would allow one tablet to lie flat on a desk while the other would be connected via magnets like a display on a laptop computer. The tablet lying flat on the desk would function as the keyboard while the other slate would act as a display. Another suggestion diagrammed in the patent application shows two iPads magnetically connected side by side in portrait orientation to be used as an e-reader. You might recall that last year, Apple was granted a patent for the animation of a turning page.
source: USPTO via TheRegister