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’s research in this area. [via AppleInsider]

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