Apple Wins Patent for Smoke Detection System for iOS Devices

A newly granted Apple patent titled “Wireless device networks with smoke detection capabilities” has been published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, hinting at how future iPhones and iPads may feature onboard smoke detection hardware to alert users of a potentially dangerous situation, AppleInsider is reporting. While the patent may sound similar to network-connected products like Nest’s Protect, Apple’s solution offers a number of benefits and advantages over today’s fixed location setups.

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Apple’s filing details how an iOS device would be outfitted with shrunken down sensor suite similar to light-based or ionizing smoke detectors commonly found in hardware stores, practically turning the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and other iOS devices personal, portable fire safety systems. Furthermore, Apple’s patent includes embodiments covering Wi-Fi routers, MacBooks, desktop PCs and even Apple TV.

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Apple describes that once the system detects smoke, underlying control software is triggered to notify the device owner, activate a fire suppression system or perform other suitable tasks.

“Authorities might also be alerted to the emergency via messages sent by a device’s communications capabilities. Information can also be transmitted regarding house address, building layout, individual device location and more. Another embodiment monitors user presence, or whether a device owner is nearby when smoke is detected. This information, along with temperature, motion and location data, can play an important role in directing firefighters to building occupants or remotely notifying home owners of a fire.”

Apple’s smoke detector patent was first filed for in May 2013.