Apple iPhone fall protection patent (drawing 001)

Think of how a cat, when dropped, can twist its body to land on its paws. Now think of your iPhone falling. Makes you cringe, just thinking of the finely-crafted case and display biting the sidewalk or floor. Enter Apple, taking a lesson from felines and wrapping it in some futuristic technology for a patent designed to protect your iDevice from falls.

In a patent application entitled “Protective Mechanism for an Electronic Device,” the iPhone and iPad maker outlines a series of inventions spanning technology now available to some concepts more Jetson-like…

Apple’s patent filing involves sensors to detect when a device (the iPhone is specifically mentioned) is falling, its speed, and orientation to the ground.

Those sensors connect to processors, which determine how long to impact and the best crash position to limit damage – corner versus a belly flop on the screen, for instance.

Apple writes:

An electronic device including a processor, a sensor in communication with the processor and a protective mechanism.

The protective mechanism is in communication with the processor and is configured to selectively alter a center of mass of the electronic device.

Additionally, the electronic device also includes an enclosure configured to at least partially enclose the processor and the sensor.

That’s all relatively in reach.

But the patent goes on to describe technology to prevent a device falling or changing its position in mid-air that you’re more likely to find in a spy novel than a mobile phone.

Apple iPhone fall protection patent (drawing 002)

In one scenario, a weight inside the device is shifted along the length-width axis to change the phone’s center of gravity based on previous fall data stored in memory. The remaining options seem to be so impractical as to be lifted straight from a James Bond thriller, but they illustrate the creativity put into protecting your phone.

One option suggests a method to “grip the plug” of an accessory, such as your headphones, to stop a device crashing to the ground. This sounds like the mirror opposite of Apple’s MagSafe connectors which break away from your laptop to prevent a computer being dragged off a table.

Other possibilities: Your device could sprout wings, acting as air foils to slow or alter the fall. Finally, your iPhone could be equipped with a canister of gas that acts as a “thruster” (I’m not kidding, that’s what Apple’s filing mentions).

All of which begs the question: Why not just include a protective case?

  • MagicDrumSticks


    • Mac_Guy


    • RarestName

      Meow meow meow?

      • Fraz


  • pauleebe

    I would be terrified of my iPhone “clawing” to a cord while falling.

  • Ruff ruff

  • BS

    • FlamingOzone


  • ClaudieX X

    They must let the sensor open a parachute!! And when the iPhone slowly touch the floor, you hear… TAARAAAAAAAA!!! (Ending with applauses) XD

  • Farbod

    Is this the “killer” feature? Or some Tim cook fantasy?

  • FlamingOzone

    This could really work though

  • Farbod

    If this became a reality all apple employees are going to be bathing in money

  • Mohammed Sahib

    Next thing you know, Galaxy S5 has this feature, perhaps even before the iPhone.

  • Hyr3m

    Someone has been watching the SW Episode 2 and 3 again… R2’s thrusters… anyone?

    It’s not what I was expecting… I actually had a much better idea in mind than what’s described in here when I read the title… Not going to share it though 😛 You might see a kickstarter for this idea in the future if nobody steals it off my mind in the meantime ^^

    • Kurt

      I won’t will steal it!

      • Hyr3m

        Good luck with that 😛

  • Eldaria

    Huff, again a concept patent, not an actual product. Something is broken when you can patent a concept of a function that might exist in the future. Patents are supposed to be for something you have invented and will start to manufacture and sell, not something you or someone else might invent in the future.

  • Viktor_Zweig

    Presenting iPhone 7, code name: Bumblebee!
    Decepticons attack!

    I wish for transformers iPhone…

  • @dongiuj

    How about pressure censors so just before impact miniature airbags pop out.

  • Amazon getting ready to sue Apple now…..Amazon is the cat and Apple is the rat in this stuff….

    • You are a confused individual. Apple is sat at the top of the food chain, not Amazon.

      • so what? this idea of preventing a device from damage by having some sort of parachute mechanism was patented by amazon some time back…it does not matter if apple took this idea and modified few bits here and there and coming with something with a new name…reinventing the wheel…

      • So your logic is that anyone who copies is a Rat?

      • ClaudieX X

        You can’t patent something that was already patented. So if Apple patented that… what you said about Amazon is a lie.

  • Apple needs to stop working on patenting stuff on and on and start working on implementing them inside their new products… in real life, not in papers. Just my humble opinion…

  • I always wonder if this is how other competitors got their ideas to make their own product when someone leak this Apple’s patents or new tech or new product or ideas. And then they make their product available earlier than Apple’s but sloppier. Just so they could come up with their products first in the market.

  • Liam Mulcahy


  • Kurt

    I just caught someones iphone today. Good thing I have cat like reflexes.

  • Kurt

    Those sensors connect to processors, which determine how long to impact
    and the best crash position to limit damage – corner versus a belly flop
    on the screen, for instance.<—Falling on the corner causes more damage. A belly flop would be ideal. Around 10 years ago, a sky diver had problems with her parachute. It partially opened but she was falling at a high rate of speed. She survived (even her unborn baby-though liberals would want to murder it in an abortion, sickos.) She belly flopped, and survived because of it. Surface area is the key.

  • hhh

    Just make a screen that won’t break….