Apple Patents Phone Drop Protection System
One of the best ways to avoid breaking your smartphone is to not drop it, obviously. However, that’s nothing short of a miracle for the clumsy among us, and it sounds as though Apple has an idea to try and offer a solution to this problem.
Spotted by a post on AppleInsider, Apple has secured a patent from the USPTO for something called the “protective mechanism for an electronic device.” Relying on a device’s accelerometers and gyroscopes, the protective mechanism seeks to “selectively alter a center of mass of the electronic device,” essentially changing the way a device will land so as to limit the amount of damage done.
The patent was filed way back in September 2011, so it’s telling that the company has yet to deploy the protective mechanism feature in any of its many devices. The AppleInsider post notes that previous iPhone models used “eccentrically connected rotational mass” devices for vibration – or, in laymen’s terms, a spinning weight that shakes the device. That kind of mechanism, the post says, could incorporate this patent in theory, while the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus’s “bespoke linear oscillating motors” could not. I’m not going to pretend to know, precisely, the differences between these two kinds of vibration mechanisms, but I’ll take AppleInsider’s word that it’s worth noting.
Anyway, the patent is interesting, if a bit fanciful. Sure, Apple owns the patent, but how well would this work in practice? Moreover, is it even in Apple’s best interests to provide a feature like this? After all, a broken iPhone usually means another iPhone purchase. I have my doubts that we’ll ever see this mechanism actually appear in any devices in the near future. In the meantime, just put a bumper case on your smartphone, butterfingers.