Apple seeks iPod, iPhone consumer abuse detector patent | iLounge News


Apple seeks iPod, iPhone consumer abuse detector patent


A newly-published Apple patent application suggests the company is working on more sophisticated means to tell whether or not a device—such as an iPod or iPhone—has been subjected to abuse by its owner. Titled “Consumer Abuse Detection System and Method,” the patent describes a system of water, thermal, shock, and other sensors that may detect and record potential device abuse, while at the same time disabling certain components such as screens, hard drives, processor memory, and/or removable media in order to protect them from damage. The application summary reveals that Apple hopes to save money on faulty warranty claims via such as system, as evidenced by this passage: “In accordance with yet another aspect of the present invention, the system may include an interface by which a diagnostic device may access the memory to analyze the records and determine whether a consumer abuse event occurred, when the event occurred, and, in some embodiments, what type of abuse event occurred. By providing the capability to quickly and easily detect whether consumer abuse occurred in an electronic device, a vendor or manufacturer diagnosing a returned product may be able to better determine whether or not to initiate a product return under a warranty policy.” As with all Apple patent filings, this does not necessarily represent any future product release or feature from Apple, but offer evidence of the company‚Äôs research in this area. [via AppleInsider]

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Surprised no one is intrigued with the illustrated device’s brand new, never-before-seen shape.  Large, iPod Touch-like screen with Nano-like click wheel.  Hmmm.  Shades of a new design to be forthcoming this fall?  If it’s a new Classic design with Touch screen, sign me up.

Posted by Tom on August 6, 2009 at 1:19 PM (CDT)


I think the Illustration is just an Illustration to show that the technology could be used in either an iPod format device or an iPhone format device.
A Tablet that big wouldn’t be controlled by a Scroll Wheel, and a Scroll Wheel that small couldn’t be controlled by someone with average sized fingers.

Posted by Dan Woods on August 6, 2009 at 7:27 PM (CDT)


This is such crap.  The things are so delicate as it is; now I’ll be afraid to take it out of the box!  I hate the thought that a single accidental drop could kill my iPod (which happened to my 160 GB classic last month) AND void my warranty.

Obviously there are cases of out and out abuse that need be rooted out, but it seems that Apple is aggressively targeting fraud at the expense of the typical customer, when it should be the other way around.

I wonder—will we (the consumers) KNOW whether or not this will be incorporated into future iPod/iPhone releases, or will they sneak it in under the radar?

Posted by Eric on August 6, 2009 at 11:45 PM (CDT)


Oh Eric they’ll definitely sneak it in.  Apple seems be morphing into a shadier company daily.

Posted by Bobby on August 7, 2009 at 7:11 AM (CDT)


Doesn’t the iPhone have a piece of paper with a disappearing ink blue dot that detects if the phone has been subjected to water damage? They always check that first when you’re at the Genius Bar.

Posted by Daryll on August 7, 2009 at 3:22 PM (CDT)


How about making iPod/iPhone unresponsive if you press the buttons a little too hard….. WHAT’S NEXT, APPLE?!

Posted by SFDJ on August 8, 2009 at 4:03 AM (CDT)


Perhaps Apple should invest a little more money in making there products more durable rather than trying to screw the consumer?

Posted by Bobby on August 8, 2009 at 4:44 PM (CDT)


The arguments against this sound an awful lot like the arguments that justify illegal music downloading.
If your iPod or iPhone is taken care of, then you have nothing to fear.
As an AAPL stockholder, I think it’s good to cut down on fraud.  It’s obvious that you can’t take people at their word - stories abound of how people get their XXX device wet, run through the washing machine, etc, and try to get it replaced under warranty.
Sadly, left to their own honor-system, many people lie and that equates to stealing.
I’ve taken my lumps when I damage something.
It sucks, but that’s the way it goes.

Posted by slbx2 on August 9, 2009 at 9:25 PM (CDT)


#3/Erik, accidental damage was never covered by the warranty. However there’s a good chance that Apple will replace it anyways, even if they know it was an accident. The warranty means Apple only has to fix Apple’s mistakes, not your mistakes.

Posted by Ned Scott on August 10, 2009 at 3:00 AM (CDT)

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