Two new patents from Apple have come to our attention courtesy of AppleInsider, which could lead to some very useful new technologies if they make it to market.
The first patent application published this week focuses on a method of detecting – and even preventing – cracks to a device’s display, while the second details a method of charging a device on-the-go with a manual winding mechanism.
Coverglass fracture protection
This filing explains how a complex array of sensors could be used to detect hairline fractures in an iPhone’s screen, even before they’re visible to the naked eye. It could potentially even notice display weaknesses before any cracking occurs, and warn the user with an on-screen alert.
This tracking could lead to users being more careful in the short term, but its real value is in the reports that could be saved to track the history of any breaks. Not only could the data help Apple pinpoint flaws and build more resilient screens in future, it could serve to help Apple’s customer support staff if a user made a claim for a fix.
This second patent is aimed primarily at wearables like the Apple Watch, though it does imply that a similar technology could potentially make its way to future iPhones or iPads. It details what is essentially an on-board generator, that could be used to recharge a device through physically winding a mechanism.
For the Apple Watch, this could fit perfectly with the Digital Crown on the side of the device – the spinning wheel inspired by traditional wristwatches. Apple’s wearable has been criticized in some quarters for its relatively short battery life; just imagine if navigating menus with the Digital Crown could also beef up your battery life.
Who knows if these patents will make it into actual Apple products in future, but these ideas look pretty useful if they do see the light of day. Certainly more likely than some of the unusual Apple patents we looked at last year…