Apple has been granted a patent for a system that protects the iPhone’s screen by extending retractable tabs, AppleInsider reports. When the phone senses it’s being dropped, the tabs extend, forming a “buffer zone” between the ground and the screen.
The tabs, which are powered by motors, are positioned on the four corners of the device and form “legs” that can support the phone. No mention is made of what happens if the phone lands on its back.
It’s unlikely that the patent will ever make it into an iPhone, though. Apple patents lots of different products and ideas, in part to protect its intellectual property, but also as a form of marketing. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to see Apple consider solutions to the problem of fragile phone without requiring a bulky case.
The patent states that an iPhone’s existing accelerometer and gyroscope could sense when the phone is falling. Apple says in the patent that the camera could also be used.
According to AppleInsider, the “feet” are not user-controllable and retract after a period of time beyond the “fall event.”