The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted Apple a new patent that could make it easier to use an iPhone in the rain or underwater. Apple’s iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lineups feature water resistance and come with an IP68 rating that denotes the devices can withstand water exposure up to a depth of six meters (19.7 feet) for up to 30 minutes. There have, however, been controversies about the feature, with a proposed class-action lawsuit accusing the company of misleading customers about the iPhone’s water resistance. However, the case was dismissed by a federal judge earlier this year.
Having launched the iPhone 13 late last year, Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 14 line later this year with a new design language, faster hardware and newer features. According to reports, Apple will launch four models as part of its next-gen iPhone lineup, including the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Max, iPhone 14 Pro,and iPhone 14 Pro Max. The two ‘Pro’ models will be the high-end offerings and are rumored to ship with the all-new A16 processor, as well as a new notch-less design. As for the vanilla iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max, they will reportedly retain the notched design of their predecessors and use older components from last year’s iPhone 13.
Late last month, Apple secured a patent that could potentially let people use their iPhones in the rain without any issue. According to a document published by the USPTO, the patent allows iPhones to work smoothly during “a moisture exposure event,” such as in the rain or underwater. As per the documentation, the device would do that by using the inbuilt pressure and moisture sensors to detect water and accordingly adjust the software.
While water droplets on the screen typically reduce touch sensitivity and make it difficult for users to register their taps or swipes, the new feature could make it much easier to do all those things, even in the rain. The new system could also change the sensitivity of the on-screen buttons to reduce the chances of accidental touch inputs from raindrops. In addition, as part of the plan, the iPhone could adjust the pressure sensitivity of its display to register touch inputs only when a certain amount of pressure is applied.
The iPhone could even come with an underwater mode that could offer a simpler interface to make it easier to use underwater. The new patent even suggests that users could use the underwater mode to take photos and record videos even when the iPhone is completely submerged. It will be interesting to see when (or if) these features will ever make it to an Apple iPhone, but if they do, that can revolutionize smartphone photography forever.