Apple Patent to Prevent Thieves from Lifting iPhoneS

The brains over in Cupertino seem to have been doing some thinking vis-à-vis security for the iPhone, as an application submitted by Apple to the US patent office shows. Given that the iPod's arrival heralded an epidemic of white-earphone muggings, it is safe to assume that the same thing will happen once people start clamping the shiny loveliness of the iPhone to their ears in public.

What are they proposing? Well, they're not giving away a man-mountain bodyguard free with every iPhone...

The application, entitled Protecting Electronic Devices from Extended Unauthorised Use, suggests a few ways to deter would-be thieves by preventing the iPhone/Pod from recharging once it has been stolen. Apparently it's all to do with authorization codes. (God, not more things for my poor overtaxed, underpaid brain to remember, eh?)

So, in the words of the patent, if "a timer expires, device is connected to a power-supply or another device, device is outside a determined geographical boundary," and then the device's password isn't inputted in time, then no power for the missing iPhone.

As Apple puts it: "Normal use and enjoyment of the device can be significantly reduced by disabling the recharger." And that, they hope, will act as a deterrent to would-be attackers. It's a good idea but, as we all know, everything is eventually hackable. I'd have gone with the bodyguard scheme, myself.

United States Patent Application 0070138999 [US Patent & Trademark Office via Information Week]