Apple’s iOS devices, especially the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, are famous for their inability to endure even the smallest of drops without their displays shattering into a thousand tiny pieces. However, according to a patent application from the company, future iPhones could employ a fancy airbag system that prevents them from cracking when they hit the ground.
Uncovered by PatentlyApple, the patent describes a number of solutions for crack resistant glass for portable devices such as the iPhone. In one, Apple envisions a device that features a “shock mount” between the its body and its display, which is automatically inflated when it detects the device has been dropped. PatentlyApple reports:
Apple’s patent FIG. 5 shows a housing and a cover glass in cross sectional view having a tunable shock mount 505 disposed there between. The tunable shock mount could comprise of an inflatable bladder 506 filled with a fluid 507. Tuning could be done in various ways such as by selection of materials for the bladder and fluid, and by varying an amount of inflation. Hmm, think of it as a form of air-bag for portable devices.
Moreover, Apple suggests another advantage to this solution is that the internal components within the device could be protected from water damage by introducing a waterproof seal.
Other solutions detailed in Apple’s patent include one that’s already in use with its latest iOS devices, which is the use of alumino silicate glass, better known as Gorilla Glass. PatentlyApple notes the Cupertino company could also employ other glass materials such as sodalime and borosilicate, which are known to make glass resistant to shock.
I’ve dropped and destroyed a number of iPhones over the years, so a device that features inflatable airbags (or the equivalent) for protection seems like a dream come true to me. What about you?