Apple has been awarded a patent for a novel way to protect iPhones from drop damage:
The idea is that an internal sensor would detect when a phone is in freefall before determining its distance from the ground and how quickly it's falling.
Then the system reorients the phone in the air as it falls, positioning it in such a way to minimize damage. The patent describes how this could be accomplished by moving around a counterweight inside of the phone, actuated by a can of gas.
But will they ever build in this feature? I wouldn't get too excited about it. With the premium placed on battery life, thinness, and weight, I doubt Apple will ever find the room for a counterweight and a gas canister.
Which reminds me: Patents ought to be rescinded for products never put into production by the patent-holder. Give them, say, three years. Use it or lose it.