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  • iPhone 4 Survives 13,500 Foot Fall - Much To The Surprise Of The Owner


    We've all heard stories of people dropping and shattering their iDevices - whether it's on the ground, in the toilet, on the table, etc. Occurrences of this nature come as no surprise to iDevice users as you're always bound to know someone who has. But do many people know of or have seen an iPhone 4 that has survived a deathly fall? That would be impressive to say the least.

    CNN reports that a skydiver's recent dive could have been the end to his iPhone 4 - but surprisingly enough, it overcame "great heights." Jarrod McKinney, a 37 year old from Minnesota, submitted a report to iReport of CNN saying that his iPhone 4 survived a drop of 13,500 ft. after he accidentally dropped it. His unzipped pocket of his skydiving gear was a mistake that would send his iPhone 4 diving to the earth - with no parachute. Expecting to never find it again, McKinney was surprised that he was able to track his device using a GPS application. McKinney found his device sitting on a two-story building near where he landed with his parachute shortly after. Just as a joke, he decided to try to call someone from his shattered phone - and it worked! Even though the phone's screen was entirely shattered, he had no problem using cellular data service for phone calls and the like.

    One might be surprised that this feat could be accomplished. Mike Gikas of Consumer Reports, a company that specializes in testing products (especially in durability) stated that something of this nature could happen. His only comment on the possibility was:

    Originally Posted by Mike Gikas;:
    I think water is harder to deal with than shock.
    The iPhone did however have minimal protection - an Incipio iPhone case. When the phone was found, the case was completely broken but still connected to the phone. Although the screen is totally busted, McKinney does plan on replacing the screen and will continue to use his iPhone 4 for more years to come (unless his next "phone diving" mistake is above 13,500 ft.).

    Source(s): CNN
    This article was originally published in forum thread: iPhone 4 Survives 13,500 Foot Fall - Much To The Surprise Of The Owner started by Joshua Tucker View original post
    Comments 46 Comments
    1. MrElectrifyer's Avatar
      MrElectrifyer -
      Wonder if the Otterbox case would have survived this :/
    1. Sk3pticalKiller's Avatar
      Sk3pticalKiller -
      Quote Originally Posted by Orby View Post
      That phone hit the earth's surface with (it's been far too long since I took physics) .137 kg * 9.8 (m/s^2)* 4,114.8 m = 5.524 kJ of kinetic energy and it's still functioning?

      DANG. That's roughly equivalent to a 100 kg man (~220 lbs) sitting on the phone at 38.5 MPH from about a foot above the chair. I can vouch from personal experience that doesn't end too well usually. Quite impressive the thing lived.
      That's potential energy, just saying

      Quote Originally Posted by buggsy2 View Post
      This is a useless and meaningless calculation since as another commenter noted, the iPhone reached its terminal velocity long before it hit.
      Not useless because he uses the acceleration due to gravity, not the velocity of the phone as it is falling. Even if the phone reaches its maximum velocity the acceleration is still applied to it, it just doesn't accelerate because of drag.
    1. DBS2009's Avatar
      DBS2009 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Sk3pticalKiller View Post
      That's potential energy, just saying


      Not useless because he uses the acceleration due to gravity, not the velocity of the phone as it is falling. Even if the phone reaches its maximum velocity the acceleration is still applied to it, it just doesn't accelerate because of drag.
      Actually it's kinetic energy since all of the initial potential energy from the beginning of the fall has now converted to kinetic energy.

      And, maybe i'm missing something here but why do you people talk about terminal velocity? how do you know it's reached before that distance, that actually depends on the air resistance in that moment and for each height. If the object is subject to acceleration by gravity, that means it's velocity augments until air resistance and other drag forces have the same magnitude as gravity, so the sum of forces would be 0 and so acceleration would be 0 too and velocity would be constant (terminal velocity). So, am i missing something?
    1. Sk3pticalKiller's Avatar
      Sk3pticalKiller -
      Quote Originally Posted by DBS2009 View Post
      Actually it's kinetic energy since all of the initial potential energy from the beginning of the fall has now converted to kinetic energy.

      And, maybe i'm missing something here but why do you people talk about terminal velocity? how do you know it's reached before that distance, that actually depends on the air resistance in that moment and for each height. If the object is subject to acceleration by gravity, that means it's velocity augments until air resistance and other drag forces have the same magnitude as gravity, so the sum of forces would be 0 and so acceleration would be 0 too and velocity would be constant (terminal velocity). So, am i missing something?
      His equation is the equation for Potential Energy, kinetic energy is E = 1/2*m*V^2.
      If it was a frictionless air then the final velocity would be just before the phone hits the ground, but because of drag the force due to gravity is canceled (acceleration due to gravity never goes to 0 but is countered by the acceleration due to drag)
      Air resistance is drag. So when drag equals force due to gravity there is no NET acceleration, therefore the velocity is constant (the iphone moves at the same speed); the phone reaches its final velocity before hitting the ground, its just hard to say what the speed is and when it reaches it.
    1. iM!ke's Avatar
      iM!ke -
      This thread is alive. Lol. I'll add that it seems likely most object would reach terminal velocity from 13.5k feet. Also, very plausible that the phone is still operable and repairable if it impacted, even concrete, at the right angle. Its a solid phone. I think the real argument here is only upon the many interpretations of the word "survived".

      Also I have an iPhone 4, and I went swimming with it about a week and a half ago. I realized immediately and got out with it dried it off and put it on rice and I'm leaving this post from it today. The only damage I've noticed is the power/sleep button doesn't work. I'd say it survived. Lol.

      Also about two years ago, my father had a 3G, swam with it for the better part of half an hour before he realized. Water was in and between the screen, and after taking out the aim and letting it air dry for 3 days it turned on, but was totally inoperable. iOS didn't load, screen was tweaked and flashy and LCD was pretty badly discolored. A lost cause....or so we thought. 3 weeks later, just for poops and grins, I charged it up and it worked perfectly. Screen was still messed up fairly bad. Only two weeks after that however the screen had absolutely no evidence of any damage, bright true colors, and not a pixel stuck or broke. It literally, and miraculously, healed itself. Like it never happened. My step brother used the phone as his own for a year after that.
    1. Mes's Avatar
      Mes -
      My two and a half cents The survivability of a fall does not depend upon how fast it's going, or the kinetic energy or the rest of the awesome Laws of Physics . Falling did not cause damage. So what causes the damage? How quickly did it stop?

      Two extremes: Did it land on concrete? Did it land on a large balloon filled with air?

      Where it lost it's energy provided a level of cushion that's nearly impossible to calculate