Apple’s device abuse detection system and the stupid exploding iPod story

An interesting Apple patent became public today on USPTO website.

It’s called “Consumer abuse detection system and method” and is meant to help Apple service reps to see whether the broken device you brought in was your fault or Apple’s.

To do that, Apple proposes placing a number of sensors that can detect liquid, thermal changes, shocks and tampering inside the device. Those sensors then record any occurrence of the “abuse” events – like dropping, drowning or burning your iPhone – onto memory chip, and make this info available to the service center staff.

Apple device abuse detection

Looks like an interesting approach, which, if implemented, can help Apple reduce  bogus warranty service claims.

And,  incidentally, help them rebut those stories about  iPods and iPhones exploding for no good reason, that get so much attention from the press.

Like that stupid story about exploding iPod, that ruled interwebs this Monday.

Why do I say it’s a stupid story? Because it is.

The guy in the original Times Online article admits that he actually dropped the iPod on the floor. And then, for good measure, threw it out the backdoor, before the darn thing exploded.

But our devices shouldn’t explode at all, even if dropped,  you say. Yes?

Errr… Not necessarily.

Look, it is an electronic device. If you drop it hard enough – it will crack. And, if you throw it really hard, you know, like 10 or 20 meters out the back door, maybe even non-removable battery cover inside your iPod will crack. And, if your battery cover has cracked, and it’s wet  outside, what happens?

It is Lithium Ion battery you have inside. Lithium! Remember your high school chemistry classes? What happens when you mix Lithium and water? Big Kaboom…

In case you forgot, here’s a nice YouTube video, showing how disposable lithium battery strap reacts to water:

Doesn’t that look exactly like what happened to the unfortunate iPod touch? And where’s Apple’s fault in that?

Author: Stasys Bielinis

While I like to play with the latest gadgets, I am even more interested in broad technology trends. With mobile now taking over the world - following the latest technology news, looking for insights, sharing and discussing them with passionate audience - it's hard to imagine a better place for me to be. You can find me on Twitter as @UVStaska'

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