Apple’s recent iPhone design, the one featured on both the iPhone 4 and 4S handsets, has received a lot of praise over the past year. Pundits have compared the device’s quality and timeless construction to that of an illustrious Leica camera.

But the handset’s design also has one major downfall: its front and back glass panels. Its nearly all-glass outer casing has made the iPhone noticeably more fragile and susceptible to damages than other smartphones. But Apple is looking to fix that…

Patently Apple has uncovered yet another interesting patent application with Apple’s name on it. This particular filing describes a method of creating crack resistant glass solutions for portable devices. The document covers multiple ways of doing this, but there are two that really stand out.

The first method involves disposing a tunable shock mount between the cover glass and the main body. This would dampen the blow of a drop because it isolates the glass from the rest of the device. It would also help protect against water damage.

The second method is more complex, and pertains to a retractable glass cover that can sense when the device has been dropped. Using an actuator, control module, and sensors, the cover glass would be able to retract itself in the event that it detected a drop.

The application also talks about a method of strengthening glass by applying chemicals to it, which to me sounds like the most feasible solution. But regardless of how Apple does it, I just hope that crack resistant glass makes its way into iOS devices sooner rather than later.