KEY POINTS

  • Future iPhone models could truly function underwater if the new Apple document is to go by
  • Apple is looking into the possibility of developing in-display pressure sensors that could allow future iPhone models to work even underwater
  • Apple filed a patent to the USPTO that details how this technology works

Since the first smartphone until now, there is not a single one that has the functionality of operating underwater. Most of these handsets claim that they are water-resistant but not fully waterproof. But, a new Apple document may have revealed the possibility that the iPhone 12 or future iPhone models could function even underwater. 

A new patent filed by Apple and published by the USPTO reveals that the Cupertino tech company is looking into developing in-display sensors. The patent is titled "Force or touch sensing on a mobile device using a capacitive or pressure sensing." It talks about special sensors would enable the screen to react to the touch when it is submerged in water. 

Apple mentions in the patent that it intends to make sure that the display of iPad, iPhone, or Apple Watch would not act up when covered with water or with water droplets. It considers using various ways of how this technology could work. The patent also mentions the use of a mechanism that could determine the accurate amount of force exerted and applied to the display.

new iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max Stanley Morgan raises Apple share price estimate and predicts that Apple iPhone 12 will feature 5G. Photo: Totallee

Additionally, the patent says that the mechanism has the ability to calibrate in-display sensors to determine the variance between the water and the finger. At present, the sensors used on various iPhone models treat the pressure applied by the water as touch. It is also incapable of distinguishing the difference between touch and water.

It is why whenever rain, water, or sweat droplets are on your iPhone screen; the device does not respond to touch as best as it does when it is dry. The patent and the fine details of the technology, as well as the illustrations, are highly technical and complex. But, to simplify, Apple mentions 'immersed in fluid' that could mean its primary goal is to develop a display that is fully functional even if it is underwater.

At this point, this is just a patent, and nowhere in the document, it states that it would be in the future iPhone models. But, if Apple pushes for this technology, it would be a game-changing feature that Apple device(s) could be the first to offer