Dropped iPhones: No one likes 'em.
No ones likes the cracked screens, or the broken glass, or the battered edges. No one likes marching to the Apple store and forking over $200 for a replacement unit. But take solace, iPhone users! Apple may have a solution in the works. According to Apple Insider, Apple recently patented something called a "Protective Mechanism for an Electronic Device," which senses the angle of the falling iPhone to the floor, and adjusts course accordingly.
In other words, let's say you were snacking on a sandwich, and you knocked your iPhone off the table with your elbow. The sensors would kick in – keep in mind the iPhone has long been equipped with a gyroscope and an accelerometer – and make sure the iPhone landed on an edge, as opposed to the display. Pretty handy for users who are all thumbs when it comes to their smartphones.
The patent defines the technology, in part, like this (dense, technical language warning):
A method of protecting a vulnerable area of an electronic device during free[fall] comprising the steps of: detecting by a sensor a freefall of the device; determining by the sensor an orientation of the device; estimating by a processor an impact area of the device; and selectively changing the orientation of the device via a protective mechanism depending on the estimated impact area of the device.
Of course, as Apple Insider is quick to note, it's unlikely this technology will be arriving in the next iPhone. It's simply too bulky, and Apple has put a premium on slimming down the build of its smartphone in recent years. Still, it's nice to dream.
Speaking of new iPhones, back in December, a French tech site published photos of a device it claimed was the iPhone 5S. The phone looked similar to the iPhone 5, which makes sense – Apple typically overhauls its phones not annually, but every other year.
Strategy Analytics recently reported (hat tip BGR) that in the US alone, Apple shipped a whopping 17.7 million smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2012. That was good enough to make Apple the top smart-phone vendor in the country.
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