The iPhone 6 is shockingly water-resistant. At its launch, no one knew about it and Apple never said a thing. It was a nice surprise from the Cupertino-based company.
Certainly by now, however, people will surely be testing the next iPhone, the iPhone 7, for its water resistance capabilities. But what if the iPhone 7 wasn't just water resistant but actually waterproof?
In a recent public disclosure by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, it turns out that Apple had filed a patent way back in May of last year that may just allow next year's iPhone to actually be waterproof.
Titled "LIQUID EXPULSION FROM AN ORIFICE," Apple's patent explores multiple ways liquid could be removed from certain cavities in the iPhone, namely through the microphone and speakers. On any smartphone, it's the holes of the microphone and grilles of the speakers that leave a device susceptible to internal water damage.
Besides the rubber gaskets the current iPhone 6 uses to prevent liquids from finding a way through the holes into the phone, Apple has also patented a way to use hydrophobic coatings on the iPhone's internal components to reduce the changes of water damage.
This latest patent is a lot more complicated. It may seem contradictory to use electricity to prevent water damage, but that's exactly what Apple has in mind. In its patent, the company has developed a way to use electrical charges to propel liquids coming from inside the iPhone's speaker out back through the speaker itself and through the microphone ports.
Of course, prevention is better than cure so Apple's patent reveals the use of a protective screen mesh on the outside of a speaker port layered with a negative electric charge to keep a liquid from seeping in. Think of it as a sort of electric fence for liquids.
But first, the device needs to recognize that it is in fact infected with liquid. By analyzing different tones from acoustic sensors and readings from special moisture sensors, an iPhone could then act appropriately to the situation. Should it be the case that there is in fact liquid in the iPhone, that electric mesh reverses its polarity to use a negative electric charge to draw out the liquid from within the phone.
Pushing ideas on paper to the actual product may or may not even push through. Nonetheless, Apple's waterproofing system would definitely be a most-wanted feature. Now if only they could develop something to make the iPhone's screen shatterproof, too.
Photo: Sean MacEntee | Flickr