At one time or another, many of us have dropped an iPhone or an iPad on a hard surface. There’s nothing worse than that heart-stopping moment when your iDevice leaps from your hand onto the ground. If you’re lucky, you walk away with a dent, and maybe a scratch. But many times, a drop onto concrete or asphalt means a shattered screen.
In the future, our iDevices may be a lot more resistant to cracks and shatters, thanks to a new crack resistant glass solution to be used in its portable devices. An Apple patent reveals that the future glass screens may have a tunable shock mount that sits between the glass and the body of the device, which could be inflated if the device senses a drop with its internal accelerometer. An iPad airbag.
Apple has several different proposals on how the glass in devices could be improved upon, including the aforementioned inflatable shock mount and another retractable solution. In this scenario, a controller and a sensor within the device would be used to sense a drop event. Then an actuator would withdraw the cover glass partially into the housing in response to the event, which would protect the cover glass.
In the patent, Apple points out that these new shatter-resistant solutions could also be used in conjunction with a water seal, which would protect devices from water damage as well.
The patent also mentions a solution that’s already been implemented in iOS devices: alumino silicate glass, otherwise known as Gorillas Glass. Other glass materials that could be used in future models of the iPad and the iPhone include sodalime and borosilicate, which make glass resistant to thermal shock.
While there’s no indication of when or if we will see these solutions implemented in actual Apple devices, it is comforting to know that Apple is hard at work on a solution to prevent cracked and shattered glass screens in future devices.
[via Patently Apple]