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iPhone 5 Could Sport Airbag-like Screen Protection

Apple devices might soon incorporate a protective system similar to an airbag to keep their sensitive and costly displays intact; the company filed a patent application that has recently come to light detailing the solution for creating more resistant glass screens, Slashgear (opens in new tab) reports.

The innovation relies on a tunable shock mount under the glass screen with a "liquid based micro inflatable bladder" which has the functionality of a car airbag and protects the device from breaking when dropped.

The small airbags are designed to inflate in a split second when the accelerometer senses a drop-like movement. The materials that are likely to be considered for the making of the shock mount would be polymer, foam, gel, silicone rubber, or other viscoelastic material.

However, to ensure further protection for the precious Apple devices, the invention could be used in combination with more resistant materials such as alumino silicate glass, known as Gorilla Glass, or with materials that are more resistant to thermal shocks.

The idea of protecting smartphones using devices inspired from auto industry is not entirely new, as Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO, also previously filed a smartphone patent (opens in new tab) utilising airbags, springs and compressed air thrusters for the same purpose.

In a 'drop test' conducted last month, the new iPhone 4S came off second best to the Samsung Galaxy S2, so maybe Apple does need to look at the durability of its smartphones. But then, if the phones become too sturdy, AppleCare+ protection might not bring in quite as much revenue, the skeptics among us might point out.

Radu is the founder of, and has worked as a freelance writer for ITProPortal, as well as having been blogging around since 2004. He is interested in anything Apple as well as gaming and mobile applications.