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.

  • Wasn’t the glass on the i4 and now the i4s ment to be like 5 times stronger than the glass on helicopters ? Or something like that…

    • Yeah, and what happens when a helicopter falls down?

      • It’s ment to 5x stronger….as for a helicopter falling down , I’ve never seen that or heard of that…now as for a helicopter crashing of crash landing that’s a different story ..it’s called impact …it’s going to break..

      • Jon Garrett

        but helicopters don’t fall down from 3 feet.

  • shannonw6290

    Bravo. This should’ve been done a long time ago.

  • Anonymous

    why overcomplicate something that using Gorilla Glass, or similar, could’ve solved now, not future devices.

    • Anonymous

      I think the iPhone 4 already uses Gorilla Glass (or equivalent). It can still crack when dropped.

      • Anonymous

        Where do you find this information. From articles I have seen to crack Gorilla Glass or glass like it, it would take more then just a drop.

      • Anonymous

        It is actually in the Steve Jobs bio, a Corning honcho showed it to Jobs personally, and Jobs basically told him he wanted to buy 100 million pieces a year (or whatever.) Corning hadn’t even begun planning mass production at that point, but it worked out in the end. At least that’s what I remember from the book. Just google corning, gorilla glass, iPhone.

  • Anonymous

    Nice to see them trying. I think the rear glass thing was ultimately overblown, I dropped my iPhone 4 and cracked the rear glass and the replacement was only $9 and took me about 5 minutes to replace. The rear glass is really just a cosmetic veneer (and a very attractive one at that), there was no danger of the phone internals being damaged. Had I cracked the front glass then of course its a different issue- but that’s a weak point of any modern smartphone.

  • simple solution to all this DONT DROP UR PHONE 🙂

  • Apple will invent it, it will be pretty much the exact same thing as Gorilla Glass, but Apple will once again be herald as the great innovator, even though Gorilla Glass has been around for like 51 years… it was sort of a forgotten concept until about 6 years ago when they adapted it to touch screens. But hey, Apple will get all of the credit for it, not Corning.

  • Anonymous

    Exactly! i saw that and a few more with always the same outcome. thats why folk question and disbelieve the origin of the glass, how can two devices, one with Corning glass and the other ‘alledgedly’ with the same manufacturer’s glass fail so differently?