Apple is developing a “Consumer Abuse Detection System and Method” which could make it much more difficult for users to mistreat their gadgets (intentionally or otherwise) and then turn up at a store expecting free warranty repair or replacement.
Several of Apple’s products already contain a device which signals whether the hardware has come into contact with liquids, but this system would take things a lot further.
Given the amount of onboard hardware and diagnostic data already collected by most consumer electronic gear, I wouldn’t think it would be too hard to implement.
Did you “shake to shuffle” your iPhone a little too hard? Apple knows (or soon will).
Did you try to open up something you shouldn’t have with a paperclip? You’ll be as busted as your borked machine, for sure.
The system would incorporate and record data from liquid, thermal and shock sensors, plus a continuity sensor which would detect device tampering.
Bad news for those who like to vent their frustration on their gadgets, and possibly bad news for portable devices where this extra data capture could impact battery life and performance. We’ll have to wait and see.
Oh, and expect someone to file a lawsuit against Apple in due course about this patent.