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iPhone 4 Survives Fall From Skydiver's Pocket 233

Posted by samzenpus
from the indestructible-object dept.
tripleevenfall sent in a link with a story that is sure to be the basis for the next iPhone 4 commercial. From the article: "Jarrod McKinney's iPhone 4 — a notoriously fragile device — cracked when his 2-year-old knocked it off a bathroom shelf. So it's easy to see why McKinney, a 37-year-old in Minnesota, would be 'just absolutely shocked' when that same phone survived a fall from his pocket — while he was skydiving from 13,500 feet."
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iPhone 4 Survives Fall From Skydiver's Pocket

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  • by suso (153703) * on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @10:32AM (#36811354) Homepage Journal

    I've heard of dropped calls, but this is ridiculous.

  • Surface (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tukz (664339) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @10:37AM (#36811420) Journal

    Doesn't it highly depend on the surface it lands on as well?
    I mean, a bathroom floor is pretty hard and solid, while, say, a bush could soften the blow quite significantly.

    • Re:Surface (Score:4, Informative)

      by slshwtw (1903272) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @10:54AM (#36811684)
      The phone was found on top of a building, so its a decent bet the landing wasn't so gentle. However, the summary omits the fact that the phone had a protective case (and that the glass on the phone was completely shattered and the UI inoperable).
      • So an iPhone was dropped from 13,500ft and was destroyed. Why, again, does that make headlines?
        • by rednip (186217)
          Agreed, I've owned iPhones since the first one and love it, but this fawning tale is a little too loose with it's presentation of facts. It surprised me on CNN.com but to see it on Slashdot, well, that's just sad.
        • The phone still worked - they found it using "Find my iPhone" which requires it be on and operational, also when they called it rang... it's just that the touchscreen was broken..

      • the glass on the phone was completely shattered and the UI inoperable

        Must be a usage of the word "survived" that I was not previously aware of...

      • Of course the UI isn't going to work, the front glass was shattered.

        I think it's interesting that not only would the phone still power up and receive calls, but the GPS was working too. I think that is a pertinent fact that in an emergency situation might be good to know.

        • by GooberToo (74388)

          There have been other stories of phones (IIRC, and iPhone and an Android) falling from great heights, both surviving fully intact. Those stories were both marginally interesting because of the fact they were undamaged aside from some minor scratches. This story is nothing but uninteresting and Apple fanboyism.

    • by Creepy (93888)

      I read about this yesterday, and the article says it landed on the roof of a building (it was the most read article on CNN for a while). Probably either solid stone or pebbles for a Minnesota two story*. He also doesn't know when it fell out during his skydive, but he landed 1/2 mile away from the phone, so it probably was a pretty good drop.

      * - I have a bit of personal experience on roofs in Minnesota while I was in college at both UMD and the U of M for some reason - the roof of the U of M Science and Eng

    • by GooberToo (74388)

      Yes. It depends on the surface on which it falls as well as its orientation. The story is not really surprising or all that interesting assuming one knows much of anything about physics. Many many flat objects, Vmax is frequently its saving grace.

      • What is that Vmax you are referring to ? For me it is a maximum voltage and in context that does not make sense.

      • It's a cell phone. Vmax is going to be extremely high: the large, flat side will provide wind resistance on a slope without a strong force backing it (indeed, as it falls it creates a slight vacuum... low pressure area above it), and unless it's perfectly flat and there is no wind it's going to rotate away from the pressure.

        If the phone is tilted clockwise, for example, then the wind coming up will be skewed to the left. This will put more pressure on the left: the air travels left, but there is air

        • by GooberToo (74388)

          It's a cell phone. Vmax is going to be extremely high: the large, flat side will provide wind resistance on a slope without a strong force backing it (indeed, as it falls it creates a slight vacuum... low pressure area above it), and unless it's perfectly flat and there is no wind it's going to rotate away from the pressure.

          Yes, and it will quickly reach its vMax (terminal velocity) despite it tumbling. Its just that its velocity will be slightly higher than as if it remained completely flat for the entire fall.

    • by sloth jr (88200)
      FTA: found on top of a building.
    • by Anomalyst (742352)
      Are you implying either or both of our former presidents are out of shape?
    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      It's Apple's own fault, really. They should just get a license for Nintendium [techcrunch.com] - it probably would have ended up working better after the fall. (And for those of you too lazy to click the article, it's of a Nintendo Gameboy that was hit by an explosive shell in the Gulf War and still works.

  • Even though it may still make calls, as claimed in the article, I wouldn't go so far as to say it "survived..." Nobody would continue to use a phone in this condition..
    • that's what i was thinking, the phone in the picture (and i actually clicked to TFA to verify it isnt the bathroom dropped one) looks absolutely unusable to me, even if it still powers up

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by asdf7890 (1518587)
        At least it is in a fit state for any information stored to be drawn off onto a replacement device though. That is certainly a bonus over not powering up at all.
    • by DJRumpy (1345787)

      Actually, according to the article, he does continue to use it. He simply uses it via bluetooth in his truck.

      Even though it may still make calls, as claimed in the article, I wouldn't go so far as to say it "survived..." Nobody would continue to use a phone in this condition..

      • by Servaas (1050156)

        Actually, according to the article, he does continue to use it. He simply uses it via bluetooth in his truck.

        I think my 12 year old nephew also tried that trick when he rammed his quad into my brother in law's car. "Yeah... but you can still open the door!!" It's a known trick all 12 year old learn.

  • Sponsored by Apple (Score:5, Informative)

    by dokc (1562391) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @10:37AM (#36811432) Journal
    "Sponsored by Apple" is missing at the end of the article.
  • Deja vu (Score:5, Informative)

    by xnpu (963139) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @10:43AM (#36811516)

    Didn't we have a similar story not too long ago?

    Anyway, I think the consensus at the time was that there's a difference between falling on a rock hard bathroom floor versus a bush or even grassland.

    • by slshwtw (1903272)

      there's a difference between falling on a rock hard bathroom floor versus a bush or even grassland.

      He found the gadget, its glass surfaces shattered, on top of a building about a half-mile away from where he landed with his parachute.

      Chances are it was a bit harder landing than grassland. However the phone did have a protective case, and was still quite banged up from the fall.

      • by DJRumpy (1345787)

        The article states that the case itself was broken by the fall as well.

        From TFA:

        The iPhone had protective gear of its own -- an Incipio-brand phone case that was broken after the fall but still was on the phone.

  • And in case you are thinking 'Of course it's bl***y cracked, it fell from thousands of feet' I would point you to the TFA where he notes it had a cracked screen -before- the accident, which just made it worse.

  • Terminal Velocity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DiademBedfordshire (1662223) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @10:45AM (#36811548)

    I'm no physicist but wouldn't something small like an iphone hit terminal velocity very quickly?

    • by Deadstick (535032)

      Nearly all objects will hit terminal velocity within a few hundred feet, but they don't have the same terminal velocity. The back of this here envelope says an iPhone should fall at very roughly 1/3 the speed of a human body. If a skydiver "drops" it, it will actually decelerate and he will see it going up relative to him -- until he opens his parachute and it whistles past him.

      rj

      • by Swanktastic (109747) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @11:14AM (#36811926)

        A better story:

        Careless Skydiver Killed by His Own iPhone

      • by Anomalyst (742352)

        whistles past him

        To the tune of "Dixie":
        I wish I was in Jobs walled garden
        Ol' times dere am not forgotten
        Lookee down, lookee down, lookee down
        Crappple fanboi!

      • How did you determine that? The smallest profile is what will face into the air resistance by nature; it takes energy to rotate out to resist...
        • Re:Terminal Velocity (Score:4, Informative)

          by Deadstick (535032) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @03:44PM (#36815208)

          Not so. A falling object will not assume a minimum-drag attitude unless it's aerodynamically stable. An arrow, yes. A badminton thingie, yes. A box, no, unless its center of mass is in just the right place. A skydiver can shape himself into a stable object for minimum drag, but an unconscious person will fall in something close to a maximum drag position. And a bullet will stay in the minimum drag attitude only as long as its rifling spin lasts: in a prolonged fall, it will go into a flat-spin mode which is the maximum drag condition.

          When you say "It takes energy...", keep in mind that a high-speed air flow can giveth energy as well as taketh it away, and that energy couples into rotational motion in very complicated ways.

          For an iPhone, the max drag condition would be horizontal; I just assumed an area of half what that would be. It would probably tumble, which would present about that much drag area.

          rj

  • Very silly story (Score:3, Insightful)

    by assantisz (881107) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @10:46AM (#36811558)
    This phone may still be able to make calls but would anybody in his/her right mind say the phone "survived" the fall? Look at it. Also, one snippet from the linked article: That's especially amazing since the iPhone 4 can suffer from cell reception issues. When the Apple smartphone debuted in 2010, a saga the tech media called Antennagate followed. Consumer watchdogs claimed a design flaw on the phone's antenna caused it to drop calls unexpectedly. Apple gave out free phone cases to address the issue. Whoever wrote this garbage did not know what he was writing about. Why is this on slashdot again?
    • by JBMcB (73720)

      This phone may still be able to make calls but would anybody in his/her right mind say the phone "survived" the fall?

      If it works, it "survived." If a person fell out of a plane with no chute, hit the ground sustaining massive injuries but wound up living - that person survived the fall.

    • by aztektum (170569)

      I was all set to moderate a few posts and then I saw your comment.

      Why is this on slashdot again?

      Sometimes I think CmdrTaco & the rest of the /. crew do this on purpose. They're smart, they realize the phone isn't useable and this is sensationalist shit. I picture them laughing and saying something like "I have to post this." because it's just... dumb.

      It's geeks having a laugh at the non-geeks, rather than the other way around.

      Then again I could be wrong.

  • should absent from this sport as he endangers other living beings!
  • Fall off of a Harley (Score:4, Interesting)

    by repetty (260322) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @10:52AM (#36811652) Homepage

    My daughter's iPhone 4 fell out of her back pocket when she was riding a Harley. She didn't realize it until she reached her destination; then her husband took off to look for it. He found it laying in a busy road, with tire marks on it.

    It was fine.

    "a notoriously fragile device" is anti-fanboy hyperbole.

    • by lymond01 (314120)

      I've dropped my phone running across the street, on the bathroom floor, etc. It has a slight scuff on the metal edging (I have a 3GS). Glass is completely unmarred and all I had was a thin plastic surround. My boss has broken two by sitting on them while they were in her back pocket. It just sort of depends on how it falls, how it takes its damage. I wouldn't call the phone fragile though -- I doubt many of the less expensive plastic phones would survive a fall onto pavement regardless of the landing.

      • I've dropped my phone running across the street, on the bathroom floor, etc. It has a slight scuff on the metal edging (I have a 3GS). Glass is completely unmarred and all I had was a thin plastic surround. My boss has broken two by sitting on them while they were in her back pocket. It just sort of depends on how it falls, how it takes its damage. I wouldn't call the phone fragile though -- I doubt many of the less expensive plastic phones would survive a fall onto pavement regardless of the landing.

        Plastic phones take a lot more abuse than fragile glass phones. My old RAZR and older Nokia survived a dozen drops that would have probably shattered a recent iPhone. Rigid aluminum and glass = fragile. Good flexible plastic body = durable.

        • Rigid aluminum and glass = fragile

          Not necessarily. I've dropped my iPhone4 onto concrete and wood surfaces before without any damage. There was ONE time I dropped it onto concrete and it cracked - but that was because it hit exactly on the corner maximizing the force applied to the glass... even then it was a single crack across 1/4 the screen, and worked fine otherwise.

          Apple replaced it for free though so it didn't matter.

    • by mdm-adph (1030332)

      Either it was in a strong case, or the "busy road" was made of marshmallows, because that story reeks of bs. Or by "fine" you mean "was still working, but was cracked to hell and back." There's a reason why Apple made the back of the iPhone 4 glass -- it's so they have a fragile, yet easily replaceable part you have to buy from them when it inevitably breaks.

      • The relative rigidity of an iPhone 4, while being a disadvantage when landing after a fall, might work in its favour when it comes to being run over by a tyre. And Harleys are pretty close to the ground.

      • It's shiny. If it's shiny you will buy it. Clean water is shiny, and clean water is less likely to be toxic, so shiny things are intrinsically and instinctively valuable because they remind us of life and survival. If you put Brita filtered tap water into two different glasses and give them to women, whichever glass is shinier will inevitably have the best tasting water. Men are less reliable with this, but over a large amount of samples it's still pretty significant, up in the 60-70% range .. 90-95% fo

      • Wrong. The glass is aluminosilicate ("gorilla glass") and more flexible and lighter than plastic of the same specs.

    • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @11:17AM (#36811998)

      My daughter's iPhone 4 fell out of her back pocket when she was riding a Harley. She didn't realize it until she reached her destination; then her husband took off to look for it. He found it laying in a busy road, with tire marks on it.

      It was fine.

      "a notoriously fragile device" is anti-fanboy hyperbole.

      A literal majority of the iPhone 4 owners I know have dealt with shattered glass causes by a sub-meter drop onto a hard surface, and none of them were riding a moving vehicle at the time. One was dropped from a pocket while sitting on a stationary motorcycle, and yes, it was shattered front and back.

      Maybe Harleys have special iPhone protecting fields, or maybe we should remember that a single survived drop doesn't have any meaning.

      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        by thoromyr (673646)

        trolls and all that, but... that's nice "a literal majority of the iphone 4 owners" you know: how many is that, one? I drop my phones all the time. Repeatedly. Often from about two meters. I have *never* had glass shatter on either a 3G or a 4. My work provided iPhone 3G is carried in a front pocket with keys. The back is scratched and pitted from damage, the glass is just fine.

        My wife's 3G *did* have the glass spider spectacularly from a short fall. I should probably mention that was after two years of car

      • by Wovel (964431)

        You lied, thanks for playing. If not, a literal majority of people you know are morons.

    • I've never dropped my phone, lost my phone, left it behind or anything like that. My phone is important to me, and not just an expensive toy. I'm simply amazed at the number of applications for finding a lost phone, having it ring you when you send a txt, email you with its GPS location when lost etc.

      Chances are, all these people are the same ones texting while driving.

    • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex.project-retrograde@com> on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @11:39AM (#36812282)

      My commanding officer's iPhone4 accidentally fell down the loaded barrel of an M1-Abrams Tank. He didn't find it until AFTER it was fired from the barrel -- It smashed through a brick wall, decapitated 42 terrorists, then ricocheted off of a Nexus-S and a Kin (destroying them both). We found it embedded in a granite counter-top with bits of skull and a congressional medal of honor on it.

      It was fine.

    • by MrHanky (141717)

      "+5, interesting" for coming up with a story in which the iGadget survived.

  • by slshwtw (1903272) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @10:52AM (#36811654)
    1. The glass was completely shattered, the only reason they say it "survived" was that it could still receive a phone call, and he could only make a call by using the bluetooth connection in his truck (also the GPS worked which is how they found the phone).
    2. The phone had a protective case (not pictured in the article), so you can't solely credit the device itself.
    3. As he found the phone on top of a building within half a mile of his landing point, he was apparently skydiving in a populated area. He's lucky the article title isn't "Innocent bystander doesn't survive iPhone 4 fall from skydiver's pocket".
  • He found the gadget [...] on top of a building about a half-mile away from where he landed with his parachute.

    This, from TFA seems much more newsworthy.

    By the way, the tag 'yeahright' is missing.

    • by slshwtw (1903272)
      They found it using the phone's GPS, not by using superhero powers. RTFA again please.
      • by ccguy (1116865)
        Well, if you can see a slashdot ready RTFA *twice* (even if one he didn't pay attention) you're definitely going to make the news yourself soon :-)
  • This sort of thing happens fairly often, actually.

    There's a video on Youtube of a helmet cam getting knocked off at the door:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKN-pNQW-Pk [youtube.com]

    The guy picking it up was priceless funny to me.

  • the iPhone is fairly solid state, Not to many buttons the only real moving part is the vibrate.All the parts are packaged quite tightly. So yes it can survive a fall from a skydivers pocket. The droids may too... However many of them are using molded and glued/snapped in plastic cases, which could break a lot easier spreading parts around. The iPhone is mostly steel and glass so for most cases the glass will break but the parts should still work...

    as an iPhone owner it is a no big deal. There are higher

  • You pack things like your telephone in the lockers before you go up. As far as I'm concerned, he should be hit with the same penalties as a drunk driver for endangering lives.

  • To complete the slashvertisement paradigm.
    • by formfeed (703859)

      To complete the slashvertisement paradigm.

      But correlation is not causation!

      -there you go,
      happy now?

  • "You're holding it wrong!"

  • by cvtan (752695) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @11:25AM (#36812114)
    Maybe in Appleland this counts as "surviving a fall", but in the Panasonic Toughbook neighborhood this phone is deceased or at least pining for the fjords. Maybe some people would like to carry around a pile of broken glass in their pocket; I'll pass.
  • My ancient motorola flip-phone has survived several bicycle crashes, being thrown through an interior wall, plenty of rain and sweat, and I once lost it in a mall parking lot in the winter where it got buried in snow for a week, then later found by someone and turned in to the local cops, where it and I were eventually reunited. Still works great.

  • Most non-touchscreen phones would have survived with their screens intact.
  • Fuckign slashvertisement. Goddamned shame on you samzenpus. Time for the retirement home, you've lost your mental faculties.

    • by Anomalyst (742352)

      you've lost your mental faculties.

      They probably fell out of his pocket while skydiving from13,500 ft (~4114 meters).

  • Except it wasn't an iPhone but my kitchen phone, and it didn't fall out of my pocket while sky diving but off the wall while diving for ice cream in the freezer.
    Oh, there's a difference: At no point could my stupidity have killed anyone else.

    (And, yes the phone did survive the fall.)

  • by PPH (736903)

    ... the Reality Distortion Field works on gravity too.

  • by Stele (9443)

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • I assume it he also used free-range airplane and fair trade parachute. #Hipster

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