If there’s one thing worse than damaging your iPhone or iPad by dropping it, it’s when that damage is a cracked screen. While you might be able to ignore a scuff to the casing, you’re going to see cracks in the screen every time you use the device.

Apple appears to be aiming to make screens more resistant to cracking by exploring a method of automatically detecting cracks, asking users to confirm them and then sending diagnostic data to the company to help it understand the type of impacts that cause them …

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The approach is described in an Apple patent spotted by AppleInsider.

Various types of sensors can be used to accomplish the described embodiments. For example, a touch sensor can be utilized for detection and characterization purposes. Alternatively, a crack detection specific sensor or sensors can be added to a device. In some embodiments, when formation of a crack is detected, a device having a sensor that detects a crack can adjust its behavior depending upon how the crack is characterized. For example, the device can be configured to notify a user of the device of any or all systems of the device that will be affected by the detected crack. In some embodiments, crack characterization data can be sent to a device manufacturer to improve subsequent device models.

While Apple doesn’t make its own glass, the data gathered in this way could be passed on to its glass suppliers to help target their strengthening efforts.

Apple Watch Digital Crown charging

A separate Apple patent describes an interesting approach to adding extra battery-life to your Apple Watch: winding up the digital crown! Yep, the method used for centuries to keep spring-driven mechanical watches going.

Referred to by Apple as a ‘connector-free magnetic charger/winder,’ the idea is that you could apply a rotary device of some kind to the Digital Crown in order to boost the battery charge. The external device would magnetically couple to the crown.

It doesn’t appear to be intended as a primary means of charging the Watch, but rather a way to keep the Watch alive with a boost while on the move. As Patently Apple notes, Apple first patented this idea last year before adding additional claims to the patent published today.

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