Feeds

Apple blueprints warranty Big Brother

Don't open that iPhone

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Apple has filed a patent application for a technology that could detect, time-stamp, and remember "whether consumer abuse has occurred in an electronic device."

Apple's many patent filings usually focus on technologies that could benefit consumers. This one is aimed directly at benefitting Apple itself.

The filing, "Consumer Abuse Detection System and Method," describes a system that can determine when an "abuse event [is] detected by the one or more sensors [and] includes at least one of a liquid ingress event, a thermal event, a shock event, and a tamper event."

The system could then let customer-service personnel know that a device which had failed had been mucked around with by its owner and not simply failed on its own. Thus alerted, the service provider could determine that the problem was not covered by the device's warranty.

All well and good. What concerns us, however, is the following:

Consumer abuse may include exposing an electronic device to liquids, extreme temperatures, or excessive shock (e.g., the resulting impact from dropping the device). Consumer abuse may also result from tampering which may include any interaction with the device that is not related to operating the device in a normal manner (e.g., opening the casing or housing of a device and adding, removing, or altering the internal components).

Liquids? Of course. Excessive heat? Reasonable. Shock? Likewise. But "opening the casing or housing of a device"? That worries us.

Ever since the iPod was introduced, Apple has been sealing up its devices tighter than a drum, making such traditionally user-serviceable parts as batteries inaccessible. iPods, iPhones, MacBook Pros - all are locked up tight.

What's more, the filing indicates that the system could be employed in such a way as to disable a device if "customer abuse" - including "tampering" - were detected.

As alpha-geeks, we prefer to be able to open up any and all of our devices whenever it suits our needs - or, for that matter, even our whims.

The idea that a tamper-sensing system could disable our Apple devices if we had the temerity to open them up gives us pause.

Detecting that a dishonest cad had lied about how he dropped his iPhone into a pot of boiling beef broth is reasonable enough. But disabling said smartphone simply because an adventurous soul peeked inside seems a bit extreme.

Preventing a jive-ass mo-fo from gaming the warranty system? Good. Punishing curiosity? Bad. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Premier League wants to PURGE ALL FOOTIE GIFs from social media
Not paying Murdoch? You're gonna get a right LEGALLING - thanks to automated software
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Ballmer quits Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.