back to article iPhone plunges 13,500 ft from skydiver's pocket - and lives

A Minnesota skydiver's iPhone 4 slipped out of his pocket at 13,500 feet, landed on a factory rooftop, and lived to tell the tale. Jerrod McKinney told CNN that he was "just absolutely shocked" when his high-flying iPhone still worked after the fall – especially considering that its glass had cracked when his toddler had earlier …

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Black Helicopters

Why is this news?

Surely the skydiver should be fined now? What if the phone had fallen and hit someone on the head?

The rest sounds more like advertising for the Incipio cases.

Also didn't see the antenna being discussed in CNN's original story. I'd appreciate if El Reg would provide references to such claims, thanks.

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USA

As far as I know its perfectly legal in the US to jump out with objects you intend to drop (such as rafts, inflatable animals, bicycles..)

If it does hit someone then you may be in trouble, or at least sued.

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Hit on the head by the iPhone?

Then the hit party would be called, collected ET'd (existentially telephoned) and phoned home.

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Bah!

Well, notfer nuythin' it's illegal to toss anything of a roof in NYC. This leads me to believe that being a total twat and dropping garbage from umptytump thousand feet over a metropolitan area might be a bit more worrisome in the being called to account department than that.

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Happy

Must be verified

Could have been a one in a million circumstance. I purpose that we verify this by dropping a thousand Iphone users with their phones glued to their ears from 13,000 feet and testing their phones after they land

Good chance with the fanbois should get a few ipads and ipods in the mix too

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@FozzyBear

Yes, it must be verified, but in a different way. The question is whether a fanboi will survive a drop from 13,000 ft if he is covered in jesusPhones. So, take a couple of, let's say at least 100, fanbois, who more or less volunteer for this experiment. Randomly put them into two equally sized groups, take the members of one group and glue iPhones to every bit of their skins. Then bring both groups up to 13,000 ft and drop all of them out of a plane. Count those who survive with iPhones and those without.

If not conclusive, i.e. no significant difference between the two groups, adjust your hypothesis and repeat the experiment accordingly, e.g. with less iPhones per fanboi or higher altitude.

Repeat until you either reach at a plausible conclusion or no fanbois are left.

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WTF?

Eh?

Wait - So he's a fanboy because he has an iPhone and it survived?

I thought you were a fanboy because you're an up arse apple snob?

How times are changing......

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One in a million chances

always crop up, well known fact

Just ask Sergeant Colon

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or..

Nobby Nobbs

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Coat

Why not ...

Offer them an iPad to jump, if they survive they get an iPad

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One in a million chances.....

...happen 9 times out of 10. It has to be 1 in a million though. 1 in 999,999 and you've got no chance.

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Happy

@ Evil Auditor. Re: "or no fanbois are left."

"'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished."

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Thumb Up

Quite understandable fanboy

If I was dropped out of a plane and survived because of my iPhone I'd be a fan for life.

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terminal velocity

I don't find this very remarkable, given the low weight the terminal velocity of the phone is not that high I'm guessing. Then with the right bounce and the fact that the aluminium body is pretty sturdy I guess the odds are much better than one in a million

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Boffin

Re: terminal velocity

Agreed, but fanbois don't believe that the laws of physics apply to their iDevices. Just look at Apple's antenna design for the iPhone 4 for example.

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Anonymous Coward

@Stike Vomit

I can confirm, the laws of physics do not apply to iphones. Those law showed, empirically, that you can drop an ol'n'ugly Nokia phone several times onto concrete floor, whatever, and it won't take any damage. (Even if you wanted to deliberately destroy it, to have it replaced by a shiny new iPhone...)

With the iPhone, well, you cannot.

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Anonymous Coward

Ol'n'ugly Nokias

Aside from my wife's ol'n'ugly Nokia - you can drop that from a mere couple of feet onto the finest and softest of shag, and it still explodes and dispels the battery cover, and ejects the battery and SIM card as far away from itself as possible. I swear the battery thinks it's an ejector seat.

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FAIL

Double-fail

You were obviously never taught what a vacuum was, since we don't live in one. For instance, have you tried the ball-bearing and feather exercise in your own home (not in a vacuum) - you'd be surprised (or not).

Have a read about terminal velocity at some point.

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Did anyone else read that as...

...my wife's ol'n'ugly Norkias. Bit unfair I thought.

Sorry...no, its not the one with all the iPhones on it.

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IT Angle

Triple-fail indeed.

1/ Fail1: The terminal velocity is not a function of the weight --- a 200gr ball bearing will gladly smash through an unfortunate bystander's skull, while a 200gr air mattress will flutter to the ground.

2/ Correct1: The Galileo experiment is relevant: everything with the same shape will fall at the same rate. Fail2: That experiment (and the parachuting) has nothing to do with vacuum and/or feathers.

3/ Correct2: Vacuum has nothing to do with it; but that doesn't mean the original remark was right.

Terminal velocity will indeed quickly be reached, so 500ft or 13K ft don't really matter. The iphone being a rather rigid & solid (high relative density) object, you'd expect it to reach a good terminal velocity and to be severely broken.

The roof would be my prime concern --- you can easily do a few hundred of pounds of damage to it, if no more.

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FAIL

Physics 101

Correct1 above: "everything with the same shape will fall at the same rate" is incorrect

The air resistance will be the same, but the gravitational force (weight) will not be. Two 10cm spheres, one massing twice the other will not fall at the same rate though a viscous fluid. The more massive sphere will fall quicker, due to the air resistance being less significant as it is acting on a greater mass of object.

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Thumb Up

Re: Physics 101

I can't believe you got downvoted

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Boffin

Potential Energy

I agree that its density would probably mean an iPhone's terminal velocity would be relatively fast. However, the potential energy of a falling Jesus Phone is still 1/2(m)(v^2), so mass does factor into the energy release into said phone upon impact with factory roof -- though quite a bit less than velocity does.

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Mixing up your energies

@atippey

The formula you give (half mass times the square of the velocity) is that for kinetic energy. The formula for potential energy in this case is m x g x h where m is the mass, g the acceleration due to gravity and h the height above the reference level you are measuring the potential energy (ie where this blessed phone would land).

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@passportholder

I can. Without much effort.

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Pint

Re: Double-fail

I'm the AC from 12:48, and I stand by my statement.

I wasn't referring to the Galileo experiment, I was referring to the AC at 11:57 who brought up the vacuum experiment, which isn't relevant here because the iPhone was not dropped in a vacuum. I'm not throwing out the theories behind it, just the relevance.

The reason I mentioned reading up on terminal velocity is because, outside of a vacuum, it is relevant - at some point the iPhone will experience enough drag (mg, in fact) through air to prevent any further acceleration, which was the OPs original point.

If you substitute "weight" for "mass" in the OPs message, do you feel happier? I tend to assume people say weight and mean mass, and I don't feel any worse off for it, in the same way that most people use kg instead of kgf (or N).

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Pint

Re: Double-fail

"I'm the AC from 12:48, and I stand by my statement."

OK, I apologise for the tone and have retracted my comments. My apologies to the OP as well. I accept that terminal velocity is directly proportional to the mass of the falling object - I went through the equations in the bathtub and figured it out - and I should have digested that before posting.

Beer because I obviously need more of it. Thanks for your patience!

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This is why...

...you don't put phones in your top shirt pocket.

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Joke

No, no, no..

.. parachute jumping <> visits to the bog. At least not for for those who choose to jump voluntarily..

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Devil

This is only so true

The one time I decide to wear a posh jacket and jump a few fences - well, that's when my iPhone 4, too decides it knows a shorter route down. That day I managed to crack the back on three separate occasions. I was about to mail his Holiness, about how it's his personal fault that iphones and top pockets don't work well together. But I decided to chug that up to good old user-error.

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Top shirt pocket?

But...

This is a product from St. Steve, and all true believers know that the correct attire is a black turtleneck sweater, not a shirt.

Therefore, anyone who drops his iPhone this way is not a true believer and really deserved to have his product taken away from him anyway!

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FAIL

Another one?

How long until someone has their head stoved in by one of these wayward Jobsian flying machines? Maybe that would be news, but this article certainly isn't.

As for the "ultradurable" glass - don't make me laugh, I've seen iPhone 4's smash their glass after being dropped just a few feet. Apple should be sued under trade description laws for claiming their product is ultradurable when clearly it's anything but and always comes off second best in a straight fight with concrete.

If you want ultradurable - and not some made up nonsense from Cuppertino - get a Nokia, they use real Gorilla Glass on all their high end devices (inc. N9, N950).

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Pint

Really

I was under the impression that Corning's "Gorilla Glass" and Apple's aluminosilicate screens where made in very similar ways, it's just that one has marketed it as a product to other manufacturers who want a tough screen and the other has their own which they use exclusively themselves in their own products.

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@Really

Gorilla Glass can survive a drop on to a hard surface, Apple's "aluminosilicate screens" cannot, therefore they are not in any way, shape or form, the same (or even similar, except that they're both glass of course).

If Apple had to substantiate their claims of how tough their glass actually is, they'd surely fail as there is plenty of evidence around the web that confirms it is as fragile as regular glass and is certainly not anything special, and is nothing like Gorilla Glass.

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Devil

Advertising Opportunity

I am old enough to remember the Timex adverts, maybe Apple will reinvent them.

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Coat

Old enough

...and the Donald Campbell coda

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Mushroom

And if an Android phone had fallen?

I guess it would've broken into a thousand pieces on its way down, infringed a few fundamental patents, had some malware remotely installed onto it, accidentally sniffed a few Wi-Fi networks, blatantly copied Apple, and ultimately disappeared into dust (just after sending your personal information to a server in China).

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It is of course illegal

to permit anything other than fine sand or pure water to leave an aircraft in flight - and a parachute is considered an aircraft. This guy will no doubt be having words with the relevant authorities.

The story should rather have been 'factory workers in near miss'. What's the terminal velocity of an iphone?

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Coat

What's the terminal velocity of an iphone?

It depends on whether it's laden with malware.

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Parachute

" It is of course illegal to permit anything other than fine sand or pure water to leave an aircraft in flight "

Then how can a parachute leave the aircraft ?

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@Neil Barnes

'What's the terminal velocity of an iphone?'

African or European?

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Facepalm

short attention span

Read the next 7 words...

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There's an exception for parachutes

But you have to have the appropriate certification for the plane.

To be honest, I never fly (paraglider) without a phone - but it's in a fitted and velcroed pocked on my flight suit. Come to think of it, the one time I did pile in - wing collapse at 70 feet, bounced six feet into the air - it came out of it a damn sight better than I did. Though it was of course a Nokia.

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You're wrong

In the US it is legal to jump with objects that you intend to release. This is how raft jumps happen.

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Facepalm

RE: short attention span

Your next seven words suggest that a parachutist can *also* only drop sand or water. But you're still making it sound like you'd not be allowed to parachute from an aircraft.

You didn't list a parachute as an exception - just that it's classified as an aircraft.

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Linux

Can you cite the relevant FARs?

Can you cite the relevant FARs on anything other than sand or water?

Having been involved in a number of rescue drops of food, clothing, radios, first aid gear, as well as a few flour bombing competitions, I'd like to hear about this absolute set of rules.

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Angel

Biblical

Would have been more of a story if you drop [sic] the iPhone from the title "Skydiver plumets 13,500 feet - and lives".

However, I believe what we have here is the begins of a new religion and this will be one of many miracles ascribed to St Jobs in years to come. The biblical parallels are already there. IPhones one to four are in fact John the Baptist phones and herald the even greater iPhone that is yet to come.

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