Apple's shock-absorbing patent could prevent cracked screens

CRACKED screen displays due to accidental drops continue to be a major headache for consumers and Apple could be addressing the issue with a new patent involving what some observers have called "smart shock absorbers".

According to tech site AppleInsider, the iPhone maker submitted a patent application titled "Active screen protection for electronic device" in April last year to the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

By relying on a series of sensors - such as accelerometers, gyroscopes and even cameras - to detect drops, several small retractable tabs can be activated to deploy outwards above the display.

These retractable tabs, which can be located near the perimeter of a mobile device's screen, will create a gap between the display and the contact surface by acting as a shock absorber. The tabs can be made from flexible and rigid materials such as plastics, polymers and thin metals.

Once the sensors detect that a drop event has ended or a pre-set timer has expired, the tabs will be retracted to their original positions around the display.

If Apple brings this invention to consumer products, such as its iPhones and iPads, it could spell doom for third-party case manufacturers.

For now, consumers either have to pay $228 for the AppleCare+ warranty service for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, or spend on bulky cases to protect their devices.

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