Apple Working On Self-Healing iPhone, Patent Application Reveals
An Apple-filed patent at the United States Patent and Trademark Office back in 2014 outlines Apple’s plans to invent the smartphone of the future that could heal itself. The patent outlines the case for technology built into a future iPhone which could theoretically fix a number of commonly faced issues and problems with smartphones when the user is not using the device. If the technology turns into something more than just a patent application then it would seem that Apple is not simply embracing the future of mobile, but actually inventing it.
Before we all go getting carried away it’s worth noting that this is in no way a claim by Apple that it can fix or entirely repair physically broken iPhones without any interaction whatsoever. The patent does however outline a number of common scenarios that smartphone users face on an almost daily basis around the world where the technology could assist. If integrated into future iPhones, Apple is claiming that the device could automatically recover or repair certain ailments after suffering damage at the hands of the owner.
The patent filing notes that one of the worst places that an iPhone can suffer water damage for example is directly within the speaker component. Generally speaking, unless the phone is taken out of the water quickly and the proper course of action is taken, there’s very little that can be done to recover from that. A future iPhone could apparently allow the device to automatically detect the water damage and play a special tone through the device’s speaker when in a loud area, which could theoretically get rid of some of that water without requiring any human interaction.
The Cupertino-based company also claims that there is a process that can be put in place to fix dead pixels on the iPhone display. It could do this by cycling through screen diagnostics, a process which takes a number of hours to complete, but could potentially be carried out when the user is asleep during the night. There’s also a special notation given to the fact that potential issues with the camera and cellular connection could also be fixed on the fly without the need for the user to seek professional repair advice or help.
Here’s the abstract of the patent by Apple:
A method and system for performing maintenance, repair and recalibration functions on a portable electronic device so as to be undetected by a user. The portable electronic device senses when a user is not in close proximity to the device or when the device is otherwise in an environment which will make the performance of the functions undetectable by a user.
It seems that the company is merely considering a way to lighten the load of having to visit the Genius Bar by automating some of the simpler fixing processes on the device itself.