Apple’s new patent will make an iPhone screen shatterproof
Apple Inc. has filed a patent for a new kind of screen protector described as "active screen protection for electronic device". The new protection technology protects mobile devices by extending retractable tabs.
The screen protector technology was filed by one of Apple's mechanical engineers, Tyson Manullang, and published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
According to Forbes, the new protection technology includes a sensor in the device that would be able to detect a drop event. The sensor could utilize either an accelerometer, gyroscope, inertial sensor, camera, altitude sensor, GPS sensor, or motion sensor.
The technology also consists of multiple tabs on the each corner of mobile's screen that are able to move between retracted and extended positions. The tabs could be made from plastic, plastic film, polyethylene terephthalate, a polymer, thin metal, or metal.
When the sensor detects fall motions, the protector tabs will move to extended position and function as the shock absorber and protect the mobile from hitting the surface, like bumpers.
The occurrence of drop event also can be detected by the device's audio component. The audio component would emit an ultrasonic pulse and receive a reflection from the surface that is analyzed by a processing unit to measure the height of the device from the surface as well as the speed of the drop event.
The GPS sensor may also activate the bumper by its altitude-detecting feature to detect fall.
A camera sensor also detects a drop event by capturing the data image which then analyzed by motion capture software to determine the proximity of the device from the surface.
However, there is no guarantee that Apple will ever implement this new protective technology. Patents are sometimes never utilized because technology can change during the patent approval process.
The patent approval of Apple's "Active screen protection for electronic device" took almost two years as the technology was originally filed in early 2014.
According to Octafinance, sometimes the company patents the technology just to protect the intellectual ideas, but not to become reality for mass production. But then such technology belongs in the market where it can offer some value.
The company also patents the technology to generate a more competitive advantage over its rivals.
This technology could end up being part of next year's iPhone redesign, according to Kit Guru.
But if this screen protection technology is implemented in the future, its uses could be far reaching. The patent would allow Apple to implement the screen protection technology into tablets, laptops, and even wearable devices.