Apple Files Patent for Portable Theft Detection System

Apple Computer has filed a patent for a theft protection system to be used in portable electronic devices.

The patent was filed by Apple on March 1, 2005 and was posted on the U.S. Patent & Trademark Web site September 1, 2005, according to a report by Macsimum News.

"Broadly speaking, the invention pertains to detecting theft of portable electronic devices, the report said. "The acceleration of a device is monitored and processed to determine whether a likely theft condition exists. If so, the various embodiments of the invention then seek to prevent theft by initiating an alarm."

The patent describes an accelerometer that determines whether a likely theft condition exists and sounds an alarm. "The acceleration sensor is configured to sense an acceleration of the portable electronic device and provide an acceleration signal to the controller upon detection of the acceleration," the report said.

Such an invention has it problems. The product will have to filter out accelerations that are not associated with the theft of a device, such as an iPod. For example, the signal conditioning hardware and/or software should filter out those acceleration signals corresponding to shock or impact. At the same time, it will also have to figure out signals of an actual theft. That in itself could be difficult to determine. The patent does not discuss exact details of how the invention would filter out those characteristics.