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Apple iPhone 7 could feature an active "display bumper"

As smartphones become more capable, powerful, featuring improved battery power, their size increases as well. By that token, there is a lot more of the display, exposed to the elements, making it difficult to protect.

iPhone 7 active screen protection patent

Screen protectors can only go so far, with a thin silicon layer that, while scratch resistant, will not likely prevent a 5 inches and bigger display from cracking, upon falling on concrete, gravel, or any material that is higher up in the Mohs scale.

Currently, the best viable solution to protect an iPhone, or any other bigger smartphone, is with a heavy-duty, semi-rigid case that will protect the back of the smartphone, as well as the front, with a thick, and tall bezel, running along all edges of the screen.

For an average of $60, cases like these, will ensure that your iPhone is safe. With that said, they will also make it look like a bumper car, by adding considerable weight.

A new patent filed by Apple on Thursday, titled “Active Screen Protection for Electronic Device” seems to describe a method that could solve the problem of cracked screens on iPhones, without the bulk of a heavy-duty protecting case.

According to the patent’s abstract, sensors that are part of an iPhone, such as the accelerometer, or the camera, will actively detect when the iPhone is dropping. This event will trigger a set of shock-absorbing “tabs”, that will act like mini-bumpers, preventing the device’s display from making direct contact with any surface in its path.

Delving further into the design specifications provided with the patent, the active screen protection mechanism will trigger the shock absorbers by means of little motors, moving the protecting tabs into place, by rotating them along a number of individual hinges.

While Apple offers no guarantee that it will ever use any of the patents it acquires, the company has shown an interesting trend, where an increasing number of patents acquired in the past 12 months, have actually made it into production. Some notable examples being the Apple Pencil, and the Fusion Keyboard.

With rumors beginning to mount about the iPhone 7, and in consideration of the fact that Apple has been extremely prolific in implementing brand new technologies into its devices, the chances for patent designs like the above mentioned, to be part of upcoming production plans, seem more likely.

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