Apple is exploring new security measures for Apple retail stores in an attempt to discourage and prevent smash-and-grab robberies.
In a patent titled "Product-Display System" filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, spotted by Patently Apple, Apple details a number of mechanical systems for securing iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches.
The proposal effectively involves fixing a "retainer body" and "display stem" to the large tables in Apple Stores that feature a "retainer bracket" to hold devices. Some devices may feature a retractable "retaining cable" attached to the bracket to provide power and allow customers to pick up devices. Magnets placed on the top of the display stem ensure that the device returns to a predetermined position.
To maintain security and be more aesthetically pleasing, "no fasteners of the retainer may be visible or accessible" in the mounting system. The stems and brackets are considerably more heavy-duty than the tethers currently used to secure devices in Apple Stores, and are intended to make it much harder for thieves to detach devices, thereby discouraging robbery attempts.
Apple has experimented with removing security tethers in some of its stores, but the company has been subject to a large number of smash and grab robberies in recent years. The patent is not a confirmation that Apple will implement the bulky security retainers in its retail stores, but it remains a possibility given the solution is fully developed. Apple devices already automatically enter a lost mode when they are stolen from a store, rendering the device useless, but the filing indicates that more basic robbery prevention is still an ongoing area of research for the company.
Update: Apple store aficionado Michael Steeber has noted on Twitter that the mounting system outlined in this patent is already used by a number of Apple retail partners and authorized resellers:
No cable clutter, no holes in the table, no obsolete displays, no mess. For resellers, this means less special training to reset a store overnight on very tight deadlines. 6/8 pic.twitter.com/0tKLgqWITY
— Michael Steeber (@MichaelSteeber) September 27, 2021
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