A patent application filed by Apple and released by the USPTO on Thursday, entitled "Mobile emergency attack and failsafe detection," reveals the possibility that an Apple iPhone could determine when there is an emergency situation and make phone calls or use other communication options to alert the authorities. The patent describes sensors on the handset that could determine if there has been an automobile accident, a mugging, or a medical condition that could render the iPhone owner helpless.
Apple's patent application shows how the iPhone can summon help if needed
The sensors would start the process if a finger breaks contact with the screen at a certain point in time, or if there is no movement for a preset time period. Telephone calls would be made to emergency numbers and a prerecorded message would play. Using the accelerometer and microphone, loud noises and sudden movements would start the process, and a panic button could be pressed if needed.
The alarm can be disabled when the user interacts with the device after the process has started. A warning screen could appear, giving the user the ability to end the process if there is a false alarm such as a dropped device. Besides calling emergency services, the iPhone will also play an alarm at maximum volume. And with the microphone turned up to the highest level, hands-free, two-way communication can be made.
We have no idea when Apple will implement this feature, or if it ever will. Still, it's nice to know that there could be a day when your iPhone has your back.