back to article Apple sets new 16,000-foot iPhone drop test after 737 fuselage fail

Apple has become the first smartphone manufacturer to pass the three-mile drop test after one of its iPhones was found on the side of a road by volunteers helping to recover debris from Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 over the weekend. The device, which was reportedly found by X user Sean Bates on Sunday, was undamaged despite a …

  1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Fake news

    Do they mean to tell me that Apple users don't have anything less than a death grip on their precious fondleslabs?

    1. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: Fake news

      Now that basically everyone has an iPhone it's not such a big deal. Not like the first couple years when they came out and people would go to extraordinary lengths peacock with their phones and make sure everyone knew they had an iPhone. Like some precursor to the desperate wannabe influencer who annoys everyone around them in an attempt to get the "perfect" shot or angle or whatever.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fake news

        "Now that basically everyone has an iPhone it's not such a big deal."

        Found the model 14 owner.

      2. Mike 137 Silver badge

        "Now that basically everyone has an iPhone ..."

        Hardly, although Apple would like you to think so. As of 2022, some stats for all phone brands are here, and as of January 2023 "A total of 5.44 billion people use mobile phones in early 2023, equating to 68 percent of the total global population" (again for all brands).

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: "Now that basically everyone has an iPhone ..."

          When he said everyone dahling, he meant everyone who matters. Daaaahling.

        2. aerogems Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: "Now that basically everyone has an iPhone ..."

          I know subtlety on these here interwebs is something of a lost art and all, but FFS, it wasn't meant to be taken so literally. "Everyone" wasn't meant to mean "everyone in the entire world" but more like "everyone who wants one" which, you'd think would be pretty obvious from the context, but here we are. Plus, the point was that people who were early adopters of iPhones were just hell bent on making sure everyone in their social circle and just general vicinity was aware that they had an iPhone. They'd pull it out in stores, feigning that they were trying to get a signal, but really it was just an excuse to hold it up to the sky so everyone could see. Or they'd make a big production out of saying something like, "Let me look that up on my new iPhone!" Unless you're some kind of sweet summer child who wasn't born yet, or was living under a rock, you surely saw this happening. Now, nobody cares if you have an iPhone because everyone (who wants one) has one.

      3. Sudosu Bronze badge

        Re: Fake news

        Have you never met an executive?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > Fake news

      It is rather Apple's marketing as usual. I think it was Apple, who first started showing non-skippable ads on YouTube.

      Make phones that do not break after falling 1 meter down the pavement. That would be innovation! Or too hard for you, Apple?

      And forget ugly plastic cases, hiding beautiful designs.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: > Fake news

        "I think it was Apple, who first started showing non-skippable ads on YouTube."

        I don't know if Apple used that feature, but you can hardly blame Apple for YouTube deciding to remove your ability to skip ads. Well you can't if you're being logical.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: > Fake news

          Revanced tells me otherwise.

      2. Oh Matron!

        Re: > Fake news

        Is this the same Apple that has allowed the Vinegar extension on safari that removes ads for both Youtube and Facebook?

      3. Necrohamster Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: > Fake news

        "I think it was Apple, who first started showing non-skippable ads on YouTube."

        You "think"? More likely it was Google trying to squeeze more money out of YouTube watchers.

        All of Google's products are shady. Oh wait, Doesn't Google have something to do with that other phone OS? You know, the one all the neckbeards use?

    3. Sceptic Tank Silver badge
      Pirate

      Death Grip

      Maybe the body of the owner disintigrated on impact. I would check the side of the road for human remains.

  2. claimed Bronze badge

    Terminal Velocity is Terminal Velocity. If the case/phone makers test at that speed, no additional height will make a blind bit of difference

    1. pdh

      Makes a difference to the Marketing folks...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Is the terminal velocity of marketing folks higher than that of an iPhone ?

        Maybe we need experiments …..

        1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
          Angel

          Well I can supply swallows and a line of creeper for the experiments

          Plus gives a new line for the bridgekeeper at the bridge of death

          "What is the airspeed velocity of a swallow carrying an iPhone?"

          1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

            "At 16000 feet height or 1600 feet?"

            "What? I don't knowaaaaaaaaargh!"

          2. Montreal Sean

            "Which model of iPhone"

            "Whaaat? I don't knooooooooooooow"

          3. PhilipN Silver badge

            Is that an African swallow?

        2. Alumoi Silver badge

          Maybe? Definitely!

      2. Sceptic Tank Silver badge
        Mushroom

        I vaguely remember there being this marketing disaster where luggage was advertised as being able to survive a plane crash. Few bought the sootcases because a lot of people were uncomfortable with the idea that their luggage would survive crashes that they themselves would probably die.

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          re: sootcases?

          The mind boggles at the thought of people transporting 'soot' with them as they go on their two weeks in Benidorm (other crap resorts are available)

          Send the kids up the chimney like they did in Victorian times to get the soot! [see icon] (only joking)

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      And I imagine that terminal velocity is rather modest. Even if they fall edge on at the start they are light enough and with a large enough surface area they would be tumbling soon. I wonder if they'd fall any faster from 16,000 feet than they would from say 100 feet.

      1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

        You doubt right and wrong :D. At 16000 feet it will fall a lot faster due to the thin atmosphere, but as soon as it gets closer to the ground it is as you say: Probably same speed upon landing.

      2. gnasher729 Silver badge

        It might fall faster from 100 feet. The phone seems to have most air resistance when it is tumbling. At 100 feet it might still be falling with the edge straight down for minimal air resistance.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Based on drop tests I've seen from >10 feet (because waist height and head height tests were no longer busting the screen) where the guy was trying to deliberately land a phone on its face or on its corner, you can't even keep it stable for that long. No way it would maintain an edge on profile for 100 feet even unless you dropped it perfectly on a totally calm day.

    3. Mayday
      Childcatcher

      Terminal velocity

      I’m a skydiver.

      Height that you drop something (ie phone, human, brick etc) does not affect it by the time it hits the ground. At very great heights, think Kittinger/Red Bull Felix/Eustace terminal velocity is much higher as there is less air resistance in the stratosphere. Naturally this does not apply to us landlubbers hopping out at 14k. We can accelerate or slow down by adjusting our body position or orientation (head down is much faster than belly to earth). Now, a tumbling phone generates all sorts of turbulence and would have a much lower, and more variable terminal velocity than a person or a brick.

      1. Dave@Home

        Re: Terminal velocity

        "At very great heights, think Kittinger/Red Bull Felix/Eustace terminal velocity is much higher as there is less air resistance in the stratosphere. Naturally this does not apply to us landlubbers hopping out at 14k. "

        not quite. The velocity at a certain point in the fall may be higher, but as drag increases as you get lower in the atmosphere it'll come out about the same by the time it becomes terminal.

        1. Mayday
          Holmes

          Re: Terminal velocity

          That’s what I said. “At very great heights”. As you descend you eventually are no longer at such a “great height”, and as such are you any longer in the stratosphere.

          1. Necrohamster Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: Terminal velocity

            I love the pointless oneupmanship here on the Reg.

            Someone writes "very great height" and someone will instantly start arguing about "certain height" instead, as if to prove the other person wrong

            1. FIA Silver badge

              Re: Terminal velocity

              You know how boring some IT jobs are right?

              Don’t take our sport away. :D

              1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                Re: Terminal velocity

                You know how boring some IT jobs are right?

                I once thought that doing a techie job would be days of endless technical delight. Then I met the users.

                It was many, many years ago.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Terminal velocity

                  >Then I met the users.

                  Than was your terminal mistake.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Terminal velocity

        variable terminal velocity than a person or a brick

        Even if it's a gold brick and wrapped in a nice slice of lemon?

        Mines the one with the brain-melting cocktail in the pocket.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Terminal velocity

          But will it pass the bowl of petunias?

    4. Bebu Silver badge
      Windows

      With or without?

      《Terminal Velocity is Terminal Velocity. If the case/phone makers test at that speed, no additional height will make a blind bit of difference》

      With or without phone's owner's death grasp?

      With I believe around 66m/s (148mph.)

      The owner landing first might cushion the phone's impact.

      Seriously a thin rectangular object would likely tumble which I guess would limit its maximum velocity.

    5. jgarbo
      Holmes

      Depends on "how you hold it" Falling flat will be slower than falling end on (less air resistance).

    6. Piro Silver badge

      I imagine the surface is going to have much more of an effect than the speed, terminal velocity on to concrete? Ouch. On to grass? Through some bushes and trees first? Probably going to end up in better shape.

  3. NoCoffee

    Yeah but what speed did it get up to in (Ssx)? https://www.theregister.com/2007/08/24/vulture_central_standards/

  4. aerogems Silver badge
    Boffin

    Cases don't really matter

    The force of the impact will still pass through the entire device. Those stupid laws of physics don't end at the outermost barrier. Cases are mainly useful for preventing cosmetic damage and providing some additional friction so you can hold onto Cupertino's slipphones.

    1. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: Cases don't really matter

      "The force of the impact will still pass through the entire device"

      However there are numerous ways of dissipating the energy more gradually and at least partially isolating fragile components (ranging from 'bubble pack' to active shock absorbers) Indeed there's a whole branch of engineering dedicated to this. The question is not whether it's possible, but whether the case manufacturers took the trouble to apply the necessary principles to their design. In most cases (no pun intended) they don't but some might.

    2. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      Re: Cases don't really matter

      We did not see the landing. Trees and soft grounds can lower the impact a lot. And its aerodynamics don't support the best falling speed.

      1. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Re: Cases don't really matter

        The phone was found under a bush. So probably fell through the bush onto soft ground.

    3. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Cases don't really matter

      No. The cases make a huge difference to what happens to a phone when it’s dropped.

      1. aerogems Silver badge

        Re: Cases don't really matter

        Not at the distances of 1-2m. They're mostly cosmetic protection at those heights. All those cases that claim to be made out of military grade plastics or whatever are just like gold plated cables: fodder for gullible people. Sure, if you're running cable close to the maximum length of the spec and don't want to have some kind of repeater in the mix, maybe the gold plating will reduce resistance enough to make a bit of difference, but when we're talking the typical lengths of 1-3m, it makes absolutely zero difference. You want a case, fine, I have one too, but it's mostly to increase the amount of friction because that glass casing Apple puts on its phones makes the little buggers incredibly slippery. They're more fashion accessory than functional (e.g. excluding cosmetic) protection. Drop a phone from the average height of a human being, which is 1-2m, it'll survive just fine unless you drop it in precisely the right way. Especially newer models, before the various components start drying out and become brittle. The screen may crack, or you may get some dents and scratches, but that's cosmetic damage. The phone itself is still functional.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Cases don't really matter

          Absolutely at the distances of 1-2m. If it lands on its back, and has a glass back, the case will typically prevent the glass from breaking. If it lands precisely face-down, the case projecting just a bit in front will reduce the forces on the glass front. Corner impacts will be partially cushioned by a decent case. An uncased phone is much more likely to break.

          Not at all to say that a cased phone dropped from 2m will always survive, much less untouched, but it does make a difference.

          As for gold-plated cables, it would keep the connector from corroding, so there could be a small benefit there. (The wire itself, though, can be almost anything with no impact to signal.)

        2. Not Yb Bronze badge

          Re: Cases don't really matter

          That extra layer of plastic reduces g-force shock loading quite a lot. Seen plenty of uncased phones with crack damage from dropping "just 1 meter" onto concrete.

          "The screen may crack" is pretty severe damage to many people, as it makes things harder to read.

          Of course, to me, "military grade (meeting mil-spec #something)" means "hopefully meets the minimum specification, and was made as cheaply as possible, with the usual luck you'll die of enemy action before it breaks"

    4. Chris 239

      Re: Cases don't really matter

      You are wrong.

      Being soft plastic the case reduces the peak g of the impact.

      Also if the phone falls edge or corner onto a hard surface a case spreads the impact and reduces the point stress on the glass.

  5. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Coat

    Could have been worse

    What are the odds of someone being killed by the iPhone falling on their head whilst out walking.

    Different headline then...

    Death by iPhone

    1. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: Could have been worse

      Yes, the door plug might have hit someone (more likely than a phone, as it's a lot larger).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Could have been worse

      Odds of being killed if you get hit on the head by a falling iPhone? I'm not sure, but at least it wasn't an old Nokia candy bar phone.

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Could have been worse

        One of THOSE falling from 16,000 feet would make the Tunguska Blast look like a hiccuping butterfly.

        1. MrDamage Silver badge

          Re: Could have been worse

          The Earth would have to roll for fall damage.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Could have been worse

      I died a little inside when my parents got iPhones as I have no desire or will to learn how they work and never will. I point blank refuse to have anything to do with them. It's not that I am anti-apple I just can't be arsed learning a whole new system.

      1. MrReynolds2U
        Coat

        Re: Could have been worse

        "I point blank refuse to have anything to do with them."

        Your parents, or Apple iPhones?

        1. zuckzuckgo Silver badge

          Re: Could have been worse

          I try and avoid doing support for iParents but many suffer from a serious FaceTime addiction, especially those with grandchildren.

    4. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

      Re: Could have been worse

      They say that if you drop a penny from the Empire State Building in New York City, that if it hits a pedestian on the sidewalk it would cut the pedestrian in half. So... there's that.

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Could have been worse

        Sorry to be boringly pedantic and technically accurate (the best kind of accurate, obv.) but that one's been debunked by the Mythbusters. Quoting from the MB Wiki: "Even modifying a rifle to shoot a penny at supersonic speeds failed to cause a penetration."

        This reality sucks.

        1. Mike 137 Silver badge

          Re: Could have been worse

          "Even modifying a rifle to shoot a penny at supersonic speeds failed to cause a penetration."

          Probably so, but there is a notable case from (if I remember right) the early 1980s, where a guy was killed by a falling bullet outside the Bisley (UK) rifle range. Someone accidentally shot into the air and the falling bullet landed on the guy's head. So the outcome will depend on terminal velocity (limited by air resistance) and the shape of the object, plus quite probably other factors as well.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Could have been worse

            Mythbusters did this one too: https://mythresults.com/episode50

            Basically if the angle of the path is such that the bullet is still revolving and pointing forwards then lethality is plausible.

            If it is tumbling then, probably not.

        2. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

          Re: Could have been worse

          Wait, did I forget the joke icon? Yes, I know a penny isn't going to do more than sting a bit. Figured on laughs, not downvotes

          1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

            Re: Could have been worse

            You have to tag irony and jokes. Especially since that orange dude got president and that upturned-leek-hairdo dude convinced enough people to vote for brexit. Once the best jokes get real it is not funny any more.

  6. FIA Silver badge

    Sucked?

    Everything I've read about this says 'sucked out of the plane', but surely it was blown out of the plane?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Sucked?

      It's a Boeing 737 therefore it sucked. It probably blows too, so it's hard to tell in this case. Maybe the iPhone accelerometers and GPS logs can help?

    2. lglethal Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Sucked?

      Actually No. It was sucked out of the plane. It's called Explosive Decompression. The Aircraft interior is pressurised to remain comfortable for the Meat sacks inside. When the Plug let go (apparently due to the Bolts not being tightened correctly!), the low pressure outside sucked the door and everything else in the vicinity out of the Aircraft. This is naturally, not a good thing.

      They are extremely lucky that this happened at only 16,000 ft and not a higher cruising altitude (typically between 33,000 and 42,000 ft). They are also extremely lucky that everyone in the direct vicinity was still wearing seatbelts. The forces from Explosive Decompression are nothing to be sneered at...

      1. 42656e4d203239 Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Sucked?

        >>Actually No. It was sucked out of the plane

        Ackershully it depends on your frame of reference.... if you are outside it would look like everything was blown out, inside and everything was sucked out....

        1. FIA Silver badge

          Re: Sucked?

          See, that's kind of my point.

          We tend to use 'sucked' when we impart a low pressure into an area and let the ambient pressure push things somewhere... think sucking up a drink through a straw, and blown when we (or something) is pushing from a high pressure area to a low one.

          In this instance the ambient pressure is low, and we've taken a pressurised thing up there, which promptly exploded.

          So surely the contents were 'blown out' of the plane? If someone had thrown a phone out of the plane we wouldn't say it was sucked out, but when the thrower is air then it was 'sucked out'??

          Explosive implies outward too (we say things are 'blown up' after all).

          I get it's all relative, and I'm being very very picky... just found it an interesting quirk of language.

          1. zuckzuckgo Silver badge

            Re: Sucked?

            If I was on an aircraft and was suddenly forced to exit due to rapid decompression then I would say that definitely sucks.

            1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

              Re: Sucked?

              Definitely sucks, but there ain't no[0] such thing as 'suction'. Only pushing from a high pressure zone to a lower.

              [0] Absent Maxwell's demon, of course.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Sucked?

      What's the difference? The transition from a high pressure volume to low pressure is both depending on how you frame it. But seeing as how we tend to use blowers in otherwise constant pressure conditions, and suction for sudden changes, I think suction here is the better description.

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "I found a phone sitting on the side of the road that had apparently fallen 16,000 feet."

    Apparently ? Not disputing the fact that you found it, but if it was undamaged, how can you say that t had fallen 16,000 feet ?

    1. Sora2566 Bronze badge

      Re: "I found a phone sitting on the side of the road that had apparently fallen 16,000 feet."

      They found a ticket on the phone for the plane that had a hole in it.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: "I found a phone sitting on the side of the road that had apparently fallen 16,000 feet."

      Figure out where the phone came from: a plane. Figure out how high the plane was when the phone stopped being in it: approximately 16,000 feet. Insert the word "apparently" in case this was someone mocking up a fake ticket and planting a phone where debris from the plane would have landed or if a helpful skydiver carefully brought it down.

  8. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

    What a shame

    If the phone had only had skitracks running, the owner would have had bragging rights secured for decades.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a shame

      If skitracks is anything like "slopes", I wouldn't believe the numbers, because they won't be accurate. Or maybe they are accurate, and two weeks ago I did 151.6km/h just as I joined a queue for a button tow.... I suppose it was quite icy....

  9. nautica Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    No one really needs to know that; that's OLD news...

    Would anyone here be surprised to learn that some news outlets are NOT reporting that this major-airframe "INCIDENT" occurred on a Boeing designed-by-software B 737-MAX aircraft?

    Anyone?

    1. a pressbutton

      Re: No one really needs to know that; that's OLD news...

      from the first 2 paras of the earliest article i can see :

      BBC

      Bolts in need of "additional tightening" have been found during inspections of Boeing 737 Max 9s, United Airlines has said.

      guardian

      United Airlines has found loose bolts and other “installation issues” on multiple 737 Max 9 aircraft, it said on Monday, referring to the Boeing model that has been grounded after a panel blew off an Alaska Airlines-operated plane mid-flight over the weekend.

      telegraph

      Phones, magazines and even the shirt off a child’s back were sucked out of an Alaska Airlines service from Oregon to California on Friday, prompting concerns about the Boeing 737 Max 9 plane used by commercial airlines all over the world.

      times

      A section of fuselage on a nearly new Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 fell off in-flight, leaving a gaping hole in the side of the aircraft, causing a loss of cabin pressure and forcing an emergency landing.

      cnn

      The FAA temporarily grounded certain Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft after an Alaska Airlines plane made an emergency landing in Oregon on Friday.

      so a bit confused unless you mean specifically the 3 words "designed by software"

    2. Orv Silver badge

      Re: No one really needs to know that; that's OLD news...

      Every news article I've seen has mentioned it, sometimes in the headline.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: No one really needs to know that; that's OLD news...

      The Boeing Newsletter isn't actually a news outlet :-)

    4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: No one really needs to know that; that's OLD news...

      It's not an airfram incident. It's most likely a customisation issue do to the filling of an emergency door in an aisle. This is why the supplier, Spirit Aviation, is as much on the hook as Boeing. Airbus does not allow this kind of, presumably cost-effective, customisation.

  10. Raphael

    We've reached out to see if the iMaker has any closer-to-Earth drop test data but haven't heard back.

    The chaps at How Ridiculous did a 1000ft drop of an iPhone11, a Samsung S10 and an old Nokia 3310

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2xGzHjYCcY

    1. Proton_badger

      Nokia

      My buddy stupidly dropped a Nokia 3110 out of his pocket while skydiving. Found it in many pieces in a field.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nokia

        Surely you meant to type "the field was found in many peices"?

    2. Sudosu Bronze badge

      I am quite envious of these guys having a drop testing facility near their home.

  11. aks

    a fairly study case

    I assume this should read "a fairly sturdy case"

  12. Mark Exclamation

    "Multiple sources reported over the weekend that Apple has begun to issue checks as part of its "Batterygate" settlement reached last year. Claimants appear to be getting checks for around $92.

    UK iPhone owners who experienced battery throttling are still waiting, however, as a similar case is still winding its way through UK courts."

    UK iPhone owners will not be getting checks, but may be offered cheques instead.

    1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      I think Apple will check they are issuing cheques to the right people. They'll only issue cheques when checks have been made.

      1. StorageDisarray

        Any word on the corresponding procedures in the Czech Republic?

        1. shraap

          We'll check your Czechia cheque

          1. zuckzuckgo Silver badge

            > We'll check your Czechia cheque

            I think it is the job of the Exchequer to check your Czechia cheque

        2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
          Happy

          Any word on the corresponding procedures in the Czech Republic?

          I've made a check on what they call a cheque in the land of the Czechs

          And the Czech I asked said he was disappointed with ya.

          Because although the Czech word for cheque is šek,

          It's neither cheque nor check,

          The country is in fact called Czechia

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            I believe Czech Republic and Czechia are both equally valid. But I wasn't going to spoil a good rhyme.

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
              Happy

              Czechia has been proposed by the Czech Republic as the English name for the country but they don't get to decide, even though it does make sense: Czechoslovakia was comprised of Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia. But Czechia doesn't work very well in English and the Polish-style "cz" as the transliteration for "č" has always been odd: "ch" (as in church) would make more sense, which would probably give us "Cheskia" or "Chekovia" or something like it.

              Turkey is trying the same with Türkiye, and will have probably even less success.

              Cheque/check is just one of those words where a common origin (from the Persian Shah for king, which gave the name to the game and thence to exchequer and the checkboard pattern) where neither spelling is really right because of the range of uses. It's arguable that the french-style "cheque" certainly helps disambiguation when reading but given the prevalence of homophones (they're, there, their, lead and led) (and heterophonic homograms (lead and, er, lead)) in English, I've long given up any hope of "fixing" it!

  13. Grunchy Silver badge

    Bread and butter

    Bread usually falls butter-side down because the extra mass of the butter makes it a little more stable oriented that way.

    And so the screen side might be a little heavier, in part to ensure more work for Apple screen replacers.

    (Cats tend to land rubber-side down because they can use their tail as a rudder. A high proportion of cats would survive 16,000 ft free fall, you know how come? Because of eating birds, I reckon!)

    1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

      Re: Bread usually falls butter-side down because the extra mass of the butter

      Nah, butter has almost nothing to do with which side the bread lands on.

      It's essentially due to the height of the table and the speed at which the toast is pushed that prevent it from performing a full flip. If the table is 10-ft high the toast will be more likely to land butter-side up.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Bread usually falls butter-side down because the extra mass of the butter

        Toast actually falls butter side down not because of the laws of physics, but because of the laws of murphy or sod. Depending on jurisdiction.

        The real question is not how can we can come up with a grand unifying theory that covers both Einsteinian and quantum physics - but how we can reconcile both physical and Sod's laws. A Murphian computer could crack your password in anything between zero seconds and never - depending on a complex equation of whether you can remember the password or not and whether you need the contents or not.

    2. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      Re: Bread and butter

      Which way up would a cat land if you put butter in it's back?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bread and butter

        It's a bit like Shroedinger's cat, you'll never see what happens because you'll have had your eyes clawed out....

      2. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

        Re: Bread and butter

        The theory is that the cat will spin endlessly a few inches above the floor. This is still unconfirmed in practice as no one has ever been able to keep a cat quiet long enough to butter its back.

      3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Bread and butter

        Which way up would a cat land if you put butter in it's back?

        Generally on your face, all 20 claws out..

        Hell hath no fury like a cat disrespected. Especially a female [1] one

        [1] In my (fairly extensive) cat experience, the cats most likely to attack randomly are (1) Intact tom cats [2] (2) breeding females (3) Black cat females.. (for some reason, our youngest black cat acts in a random tortie-cattitude manner, most unlike our *aqctual* tortie who is pretty laid back.

        [2] Think Greebo.. Fortunately, I've never actually shared a house with one. They are somewhat smelly and prone to attacking other cats without warning.

        1. druck Silver badge

          Re: Bread and butter

          all 20 claws out

          All 18, there's only 4 on the back paw.

          1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

            Re: Bread and butter

            > All 18, there's only 4 on the back paw.

            Sounds like you had a closer look thank you wanted to :D.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Bread and butter

              Polydactylic?

      4. Steve Bee

        Re: Bread and butter

        Details here :-

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buttered_cat_paradox

  14. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Boffin

    There's an Ignobel prize here ....

    For researching the dynamics of falling phones. It's starting to look like they have a tendency to land in a way to do least damage ....

    1. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: There's an Ignobel prize here ....

      Survivor bias. Literally this time. Those that are still identifiable landed in a way that caused the least damage.

      1. Not Yb Bronze badge

        Re: There's an Ignobel prize here ....

        In this case survivorship bias, falling through leaves on the way down, terminal velocity, and some actual drop-test engineering.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Something wrong here. No-one said "Apple fan bois"

  16. Mockup1974 Bronze badge

    How come it was unlocked though? I thought iPhone have a mandatory screen lock after 5 minutes or less.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      It doesn't. You can set it to never lock automatically unless you press the button. It'll kill your battery the first time you think you pressed the button and didn't, it will make a stolen device much easier to keep alive while waiting, but if you want that option, you can select it. Alternatively, maybe they meant that the user had not set a passcode so it could be unlocked by anyone, again a nondefault behavior which you are certainly able to select.

  17. NoOnions

    Of course it survived a landing from that height.

    ...it was in airplane mode.

  18. Colonel Mad

    Sturdy, unless it was in learning mode!

  19. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

    i call fake

  20. taxon

    It'd be rather unconscionable to use a potentially-tragic incident for bragging rights.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Have you met other humans?

  21. Sudosu Bronze badge

    Unfortunately

    The iPhone then broke when the individual who found it inadvertently dropped it while trying to put it in his pocket.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hope that next year's model is rated to 30,000 feet.

    Step up your game Apple.

  23. JohnMurray

    Yet..

    ..I drop mine 1 metre and break the screen..

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