A recently published patent by Apple shows how the company is considering new ways to add increased security measures to the iPhone.
According to Apple's filing, the patent detects suspicious activity on the device. Apple names such examples as heartbeat, photos:
In some embodiments, an unauthorized user can be detected by comparing the identity of the current user to the identities of authorized users of the electronic device. For example, a photograph of the current user can be taken, a recording of the current user's voice can be recorded, the heartbeat of the current user can be recorded, or any combination of the above. The photograph, recording, or heartbeat can be compared, respectively, to a photograph, recording, or heartbeat of authorized users of the electronic device to determine whether they match. If they do not match, the current user can be detected as an unauthorized user.
In some embodiments, an unauthorized user can be detected by noting particular activities that can indicate suspicious behavior. For example, activities such as entering an incorrect password a predetermined number of times in a row, hacking of the electronic device, jailbreaking of the electronic device, unlocking of the electronic device, removing a SIM card from the electronic device, or moving a predetermined distance away from a synced device can be used to detect an unauthorized user.
Upon detecting use by an unauthorized user, the phone can lock away functions. It can also send notifications to the proper authorities as well as alerting the user that their device may be a stolen one:
In some embodiments, an alert notification can be sent to a responsible party when an unauthorized user is detected. The "responsible party" can be any persons suitable to receive the alert notification, such as, for example, the owner of the electronic device, proper authorities or police, persons listed in a contact book in the electronic device, or any combination of the above. In some embodiments, the alert notification can be a general warning that an unauthorized user has been detected (e.g., "Warning, your electronic device may have been stolen"). In some embodiments, the alert notification can contain any of the information gathered in response to an unauthorized user being detected (e.g., photographs, voice recordings, screenshots, geotagged photographs, or any other gathered information).
The alert notification can be transmitted to the responsible party through any suitable medium. For example, the alert notification can be sent as a voicemail, phone call, text message, e-mail, or facsimile. As another example, the alert notification can be sent through any suitable VoIP application (e.g., Skype.TM. or Windows.TM. Live Messenger), instant messaging application (e.g., AOL Instant Messenger.TM. or MSN Messenger.TM.), on-line profile application (e.g., Facebook.TM. or Friendster.TM.), blog application (e.g., Twitter or Xanga.TM.), or "cloud" server (e.g., sent to a Mobile Me account associated with the owner of the electronic device).