Published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, an Apple patent application dubbed "Protective Mechanism for an Electronic Device" describes a couple of methods to help a dropped iPhone or other electronic device better survive its fall.
In one method, on-board sensors would detect how far and how fast the phone is falling and reorient its position. As such, the phone would actually be rotated mid-flight to land on a more durable spot, such as its edge or back, rather than on a more fragile location, such as its display screen.
To achieve this feat, the phone would be equipped with a "protective mechanism" that might use a canister of compressed gas to alter its orientation.
In another method, the descent of a falling iPhone could actually be slowed, almost like a parachute slows the descent of a skydiver. To pull off this trick, the protective mechanism would trigger an airfoil that would lessen the velocity of the device and cushion the blow once it reaches the ground.
Talk about an advancement in technology...