The quest to make a drop-proof smartphone mostly comes down to strengthening the display. After all, that’s the most important part of your device, in terms of actually being able to use it, and the part that’s most likely to crack or shatter. But a new patent from Apple suggests that the company may have another strategy entirely for keeping future iPhones protected.
Published earlier today, the patent reveals plans for a mechanism inside your device that could recognize when it’s falling and then physically change how it hits the ground. Under the hood, your iPhone would pack a redesigned vibration motor designed to shift its angle to do as little damage as possible. Your smartphone would also need a built-in ultrasonic emitter to help measure spin and trajectory.
Of course, there’s no guarantee the ideas described here will ever see the light of day. The patent actually dates back to 2011, and since then Apple has moved in a completely different direction. The Cupertino company still seems determined to release a sapphire-covered smartphone, most recently tapping Foxconn to provide the material after its initial plans with GT Advanced Technologies fell through.