Portable devices aren't exactly very durable when it comes to taking a fall. It's been discovered that Apple filed a patent in the first half of 2010, looking into improving the durability of its iOS devices.
The patent's contents include suggestions to strengthen the glass of iOS devices. The thinner the devices get, the thinner the glass window will be as well. A thinner glass cover is more brittle, and thus cracks or shatters more easily.
The main focus of the patent revolves around methods to shock-proof the cover glass of the portable device. One of the methods include placing a shock mount between the cover glass and the device. The shock mount will isolate the cover glass from the rest of the device by means of compression, and will dampen the impact from a fall.
Another method found in the patent suggests having a sensor and an actuator in the device, where the sensor will detect if the phone is being dropped and the actuator will kick in to prepare the shock mount for impact with the floor.
For more details about the patent, hit the links below.