Apple Files iPod/iPhone Customer Abuse Detection Method Patent

A recently-published Apple patent suggests that the company is developing a more sophisticated method of telling whether a device such as an iPod or iPhone has been abused by its owner. According to AppleInsider, the patent, entitled “Consumer Abuse Detection System and Method,” 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, although it offers evidence of the company’s current research efforts and possible long-term goals.

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