Apple is interested in equipping future iPhone models with extra durable sapphire glass covers that can better protect the screens from accidental drops, In fact, Apple was rumored to use such sapphire displays on the iPhone 6 models, though significant production issues prevented the company from achieving this goal.
However, Apple is also devising other means of protecting the displays on future iPhone models, as shown in a newly awarded patent.
Titled “Protective mechanism for an electronic device,” U.S. Patent No. 8,903,519 was filed in mid-September 2011, and awarded to Apple on Tuesday, as noted by AppleInsider. The patent describes a new technology that might be available on future iPhones, and that could help them recognize free falls, calculate impact and change the rotation of the device to prevent it from landing on the screen.
Using the variety of sensors already found on iPhones, including accelerometers, GPS, gyroscope and others, the operating system could determine various parameters related to a fall, analyze the expected outcome, and initiate an internal mechanism, possibly related to the phone’s vibration motor, that could change the spin of the iPhone to help it land on the back or side rather than on the display.
Various unofficial test drops of current iPhones have shown that, while the phone is able to survive most drops thanks to its durable build quality, many impacts still affect the integrity of the screen.
More details about the technologies described in the patent, meant to prevent cracked glass resulting from accidental iPhone drops, are available here.