Apple Patent Seeks to Protect Dropped iPhones

Dennis Faas's picture

The only thing worse than paying hundreds of dollars for a smartphone is dropping and breaking said expensive smartphone. Now, it appears Apple is working on a technology that would allow a phone to identify and properly prepare for a fall.

A recently revealed patent filing by Apple (called "Protective Mechanism for an Electronic Device") describes a number of different ways to protect an electronic device in the event of a fall. The goal: to lessen or eliminate the physical damage inflicted by such a traumatic event.

Special Mechanism Used for Safe Landings

According to AppleInsider, Apple is working on a number of systems designed to save a dropped iPhone. One involves using an installed rotational mechanism that could change the orientation of a dropped iPhone so that it lands in a way less likely to cause a smash.

"This may allow a less vulnerable portion of the device to impact the surface at the end of a freefall," the patent reads.

"For example, the protective mechanism may be activated to rotate the device so that it may impact a surface on its edge, rather than on a screen portion." (Source:

Apple also filed a patent for a technology that would allow a device to squeeze onto attached cables in the event that a fall is detected.

Put another way, this would prevent an iDevice from slipping out of its headphone or power cord and falling to the ground.

The patent even describes a "thrust mechanism" using a "gas canister" to help prepare internal components for a fall.

Black Box Device Used to Diagnose Problems

Apple's patent also discusses the installation of a black box device that could be used by manufacturers to help determine how damage was caused to a device.

This could help those attempting make a repair better diagnose a problem as well as determine if damage was caused by a fall or some other kind of catastrophe.

Given that most product warranties do not cover falls, the manufacturer could use this black box system to void warranties and save some cash.

Experts say much of the tech outlined in the patent is highly complicated and forward-thinking, meaning it probably won't make its way into iPhones or iPods this year. (Source:

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