Apple was recently awarded a patent (U.S. Patent No. 8,903,519) for a future (and rather futuristic) iPhone fall-protection system that can protect its screen and other sensitive components. Instead of the classic bumpers and other rubbery protections, Apple decided to go active. This innovative system can detect when the phone is free-falling, calculate an estimated point of impact and then rotate it accordingly in midair to avoid fatal impacts!
The technology is not new. As a matter of fact, this is yet another technology from Space. NASA uses this method to rotate its satellites without external forces applied. Cats can do it too! If you're interested to learn more on how satellites rotate, click on this link.
The vibrator motor is already enough to rotate an iPhone during a free-fall. Maybe some tweaking will be done, such as heavier eccentric weight or higher speed on demand during the fall. All smartphones have all the information needed to calculate its position, speed and acceleration in space, such GPS, tilt sensors, accelerometers, compass... So, all it needed was a bright mind to make it work!
Download the patent paper in this link