Apple Imagines Future iPhones With Thrust Mechanisms And Deployable Airfoils

iphoneairport

A new Apple patent filing describes a future iPhone with one curious trick: it can twist itself in mid-air like a cat, not to land on its feet, but to smash into the ground in such a way that it’s least likely to get harmed.

The pie-in-the-sky patent (which I’m confident in saying we will literally never see) describes a number of ways in which Apple could make a device that could change its direction or orientation in free fall, including an internal component that could shift the mass of the device from one end to another, a thrust mechanism controlled by a gas cannister (iPhone jetpack!), a deployable airfoil (!) and more.

More plausible than these technologies, though, is that Apple wants to start building the equivalent of an airplane’s black box into each iPhone, which would record data on how a device fell.

Considering that such a system could also be easily used at the Genius Bar to deny you warranty coverage, I think it’s more likely we’ll see black boxes coming to iPhones before we see air foils and jetpacks coming to them.

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John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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