iPhone 5 rumors: airbag-equipped devices could soon become reality

A patent filed by Apple in 2010, and uncovered by PatentlyApple, shows that the Cupertino company could be working on a shock mount system that would help the device withstand a fall.

Apple describes several methods for creating crack-resistant glass screens for its iPhones and other portable devices, including the use of a “micro-inflatable bladder” between the glass cover and the rest of the device that would fill up with a liquid when an impact is imminent.

The shock system would separate the glass from the rest of the smartphone.

“In general, the thicker the glass, the stronger it is,” the patent reads. “Unfortunately, however, with low-profile handheld devices, the glass cover is often relatively thin, and tends to be susceptible to damage when the small form factor device is stressed, as for example, when dropped onto the floor.”

However, the idea of using methods inspired from auto industry for protecting smartphones has been previously put forward.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos filed a similar patent in August for an airbag that inflates around the device if dropped.