Apple has investigated a system where portable devices like iPods and iPhones would detect and store into memory “consumer abuse events” such as exposure to extreme cold, heat or moisture in void of warranty, a new patent application reveals.

The invention, entitled “Consumer Abuse Detection System and Method,” was discovered by AppleInsider in a new patent application disclosure this week. Apple originally filed for the patent on Feb. 1, 2008. The concept aims to detect issues, like a dropped iPhone, that might void the warranty on the device.
[…]
“The system may include an interface by which a diagnostic device may access the memory to analyze the records and determine whether a consumer abuse event occurred, when the event occurred, and, in some embodiments, what type of abuse event occurred,” the patent reads. “By providing the capability to quickly and easily detect whether consumer abuse occurred in an electronic device, a vendor or manufacturer diagnosing a returned product may be able to better determine whether or not to initiate a product return under a warranty policy.”

In addition to warranty protection, the abuse detection circuitry could be used to disable the electronic device if an issue is detected, potentially reducing the risk of damage to the device. The system would aim protect a myriad of parts on devices, including the screen, processor, memory, and potentially inserted devices like SD or CompactFlash cards.

Will there be an iOuch program to snitch on you? Imagine the day your iPhone yells, “Don’t even THINK of doing that to me!” and “No warranty work for you!”

UPDATE: Ice-T may not be getting his laptop fixed.




  1. SparkyOne says:

    OMG it is a phone!

  2. Weary Reaper says:

    In addition to warranty protection, the abuse detection circuitry could be used to disable the electronic device if an issue is detected…

    …like… they want to rent you a more expensive, newer model, ’cause that older model you used to rent is just too dangerous to allow you to use it anymore…

    …it’s for your own good… really!

  3. Jägermeister says:

    More anti-consumer tech from Apple.

  4. Eric says:

    Any Verizon Wireless provided phone has a small white and red checked sticker under the battery cover. It is used to detect excessive moisture exposure. If your phone no longer functions and you take it to the store for an insurance claim replacement, the first thing they will do is examine this label. Apple is just doing the same thing electronically.

  5. iThink says:

    An Apple iPhone iDisable device shuts off your phone after you are speaking with the police, as you are being stalked, as you drop your phone, and pick it back up to continue the conversation to try to tell them to help save your life one more time before the phone drops again.

    The lawyer arguing the case for the deceased……..(fill in the blankety blanks)

    One dude in the jury ponders “yet another device made with silicon snake oil”.

    iThink Different.

  6. ZaK says:

    Give me good reason not to own anything made by apple. lol

  7. MikeN says:

    >More anti-consumer tech from Apple.

    Of course the consumer never lies about how their phone got damaged.

  8. Cap'nKangaroo says:

    “In addition to warranty protection, the abuse detection circuitry could be used to disable the electronic device if an issue is detected”

    Like unlocking the phone or maybe even surfing to a Google web site that Apple doesn’t approve of.

  9. Faxon says:

    When I smashed the shit out of a G4 Macbook with a ball peen hammer for about ten minutes, there was no way that piece of crap was going to tell anybody anything.

  10. Floyd says:

    Isn’t use of an iPhone abuse of the consumer by definition?

  11. Cursor_ says:

    And the next step is that if you say anything bad about Jobs, take a pic of an Apple hush hush item or post, text or surf to anything anti-apple you will be Dis-Fellowshipped from The Church of Steventology.

    Have mercy, Steve, on me,
    As Thou wert ever kind;
    Let me, oppressed with loads of spam,
    Thy wonted mercy find.

    Wash off my foul texting,
    And cleanse me from my sin;
    For I confess my Googling, and see
    How great my guilt has been.

    The joy Thy products gives
    Let me again obtain,
    And AT&T’s great customer support
    My surfing soul sustain.

    AHHHHH PULLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!

    Cursor_

  12. Tim Yates says:

    This type of monitoring is just as “OK” as the consumer trying to deceive the manufacturer.

    This is Apples way of saying, do what you want, but don’t cry to mommy when your shit don’t work, biatch! I’m sure a number of manufactures would love to have this type of omniscient “fraud monitoring”.

  13. bill says:

    Countermeasures!!!

    Iphone fights back!

    Even cooler, it ‘call’ s the Apple authorities to report your abusive habits!

    and then bricks itself!

    And I thought my iPhone loved me…

  14. Eric says:

    #5 – Pedro

    I wasn’t trying to pass judgment, just making an observation.

  15. I guess that we’re seeing when a manufacturer/retailer becomes too much an insurance provider, R&D shifts to enabling claims denial. Give it a few years and this will be included on all new cars.

  16. chuck says:

    How long before a hacker…

    1. Writes a program which will erase the Consumer Abuse Event record from memory?

    2. Creates a virus which fills up your iPhone’s Consumer Abuse Event record with events that never happened, voiding your warranty?

  17. Jägermeister says:

    #8 – MikeN – Of course the consumer never lies about how their phone got damaged.

    And corporations doesn’t screw their customers in multiple ways…

  18. TonyB says:

    Big brother, I mean Big Steve, is watching you.

  19. eggman9713 says:

    How will this be able to determine if an item suffered one of these events during shipping? Such as careless UPS employee dropping item so as not to damage it, but to still trip the device? Or the item getting lost in an ice cold warehouse for a week? Or vice versa a hot warehouse in summer?

    If I had never done any of these abuses to my computer and they claim I did and wont repair it, all I have to do is sue them in small claims court, they will testify that I damaged it, and then I put out the argument that they cannot prove it was me or the shipping company that damaged it, and then they have to prove that the abuse happened after shipment.

    The burden of proof is a powerful obstacle.

  20. SethRK says:

    Anyone who makes a warranty claim regarding their iphone or ipod just needs another glass of apple-flavored Kool-Aid. (glug, glug, glug) “Ah. Please get out of my way. Must buy another, newer, more expensive, proprietary iThing.”

  21. Animby says:

    Another great idea brought to you by the Just Because We Can Dept. in Cupertino.

  22. deowll says:

    “Imagine the day your iPhone yells, “Don’t even THINK of doing that to me!” and “No warranty work for you!”

    I think some laptops and maybe netbooks already have that feature.

  23. Luc says:

    QUOTE
    #8 – MikeN – Of course the consumer never lies about how their phone got damaged.

    #19 – Jägermeister – And corporations doesn’t screw their customers in multiple ways…
    /QUOTE

    What are you saying, Jägermeister? Are you saying that, by lying about how your product got damaged and weaseling in an undue replacement, you get to screw the corporations?

    That is a pretty dumb idea. The corporations just pass that cost on to the consumer. The more cost the corporations have with such replacements, the more expensive their product line will be to the end user. Whenever some smart pants cheats on their warranty, everyone that uses that brand is chipping in and footing the bill.

    You’re definitely not alone in your shortsightedness. Whenever some dumb ass shares their story about two-timing a company, everyone around them says LOL! Rarely ever do people realize that THEY are the ones paying for it.

  24. Glenn E. says:

    Decades ago, we unpacked a minicomputer harddrive unit. And inside the crate was a ball bearing, suspended between small springs. This was an impact detector. And if the ball had become dislodged during shipping. Then we were suppose to report this, and not use the unit as it might not operate reliably. So such a snitch device, is not a new idea. Companies have to protect themselves from human guerrillas, that abuse their products, and then expect a replacement. This is all on the backs of decent users, who are more careful and honest. And eventually end up paying more for the dishonesty of others. We should applaud Apple for finding a way to keep costs down for the rest of us, who don’t throw our iPods or iPhones against the wall. And then expect a free replacement. Apple isn’t a socialist state. So stop griping that they found a way to catch warranty cheaters. And won’t continue their “no fault” warranty policy for long.

  25. Glenn E. says:

    Ya know, Apple could sell this technology to the automakers and make a bundle. But I’m sure the automakers will just steal it, as they did the Windshield Wiper delay idea. Hell, most of the 1970s PC makers “reverse engineered” their BIOS chips, rather than pay IBM for the design. One of these days, somebody is gonna reverse engineer Apples OSX software. If they never sell it for use on any PC. Repeating IBM’s mistake.

  26. iPhone sez: Sheila’s drunk brother, Bubba, sat on me.

    ps @Faxon: No such animal as a G4 MacBook.

  27. killer duck says:

    #18 Those programs will be available the same day…most likely written by Apple employees.


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