A new Apple patent (number 20110208993) at the US Patent & Trademark Office shows that the company is eyeing ways to make it easier to replace its products.
The patent is for systems and methods for diagnosing and fixing electronic devices -- and reducing the time and cost of doing so. Per the patent, a host electronic device may be configured to generate a log of events that it experiences. A help component may access the generated log and analyze the log to detect if the host device has experienced a problem. Data may then be exchanged between the help component and the host device in order to fix the detected problem. The inventors are Svetlana Samoilova, Wing Law and Andrew Bart Hodge.
Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "When an electronic device (e.g., a media player or a portable telephone) becomes corrupted (e.g., when a device's hardware, software, or stored data fails to function properly), a user is usually unable to determine, let alone fix, the problem his or herself.
"Conventionally, the user has to call a technical support helpline in order to try and explain to a technician what the problem may be. Usually, this is insufficient to allow the technician to discover what is wrong with the device, and the user has to go so far as to send the device back to the manufacturer for correction or total replacement of the device. These conventional options for attempting to resolve corruption suffered by an electronic device are time consuming and expensive for both the user and manufacturer.
"Accordingly, what is needed are systems and methods for reducing the cost and time required for diagnosing and fixing various electronic devices.
"Systems and methods for diagnosing and fixing various electronic devices are provided. According to a particular embodiment of the invention, a method of diagnosing a host electronic device with a help component is provided. The method includes accessing at least a portion of a log with the help component, analyzing the at least a portion of the log with the help component to detect a problem experienced by the host electronic device, and exchanging corrective data between the help component and the host electronic device to fix the problem.
"According to another particular embodiment of the invention, a help component is provided that includes circuitry configured to access at least a portion of a log, circuitry configured to analyze the at least a portion of the log to detect a problem, and circuitry configured to exchange corrective data to fix the problem.
"According to yet another particular embodiment of the invention, an electronic device is provided that includes a program configured to generate a log of one or more events experienced by the host electronic device. The electronic device is also configured to upload the log to a help component for diagnosis."
-- Dennis Sellers