Over the past year, thefts of Apple store robberies have exploded across the United States – not surprising, considering how easy it is for evildoers to steal devices in a store with little (if any) security. and many devices displayed on tables for tasting customers. The Apple, however, may be about to take action on this.
A patent recently published by the US Patent and Trademark Office (and discovered by the Patently Apple) describes a new security system developed by Apple for its stores, involving a kind of “invisible fence” formed by radio frequency waves to detect when a display device is stolen.
The system is intelligent and recognizes when the stolen device is approaching the “edge” of the fence, which already triggers a silent alert in the store’s security system; if the device leaves the perimeter, another alert is sent; and, if the device remains outside the fence for more than a few minutes, it is deactivated and its location is transmitted to the store system.
This deactivation can occur in several ways: on touchscreen devices, for example, touch operation can be disabled; on devices with buttons or keyboards, the keys may stop working. The device now displays on its screen a notice stating that it was taken from the store in question, adding the Apple Store phone number for the store staff to provide instructions on how to return it.
If the stolen device is recovered, it is enough that the store enters the corporate credentials on it for its operation to return to normal.
Obviously, because it is a patent, there is no way of knowing if Apple intends to transform the technology into a real application in its stores or when the system will start working. Still, the idea is a good one – and it will certainly deter criminal action.