Apple is eyeing a technology that could make the iPod more likely to survive a fall, according to this ZDNet article
The company has applied for a patent on technology that would allow a portable media player to detect when it is falling and then stop reading or writing to the hard drive. Such technology would work by detecting the acceleration that accompanies a drop.
"The portable-computing device protects its disk drive by monitoring for such accelerations and operating to avoid usage of the disk drive during periods of acceleration," Apple said in the patent application, which was published Dec. 16. "Through such protection, the likelihood of damage to the disk drive or loss of data stored on the disk drive is able to be substantially reduced."
This technology is not new though. My IBM Thinkpad notebook has a similar patented feature called IBM Active Protection system (white paper
, flash presentation
). In a nutshell, Active Protection automatically parks the hard drive head temporarily when a drop or a similar damage event is predicted by a motherboard-mounted motion detector
So since IBM already features such a technology, I am curious to see how Steve Jobs thinks he could re-patent it for himself.