Water penetration has always been one of the biggest problems of smartphones but manufacturers are already finding a way around it. Although waterproof smartphones aren’t new, Apple seems to be working on something different for its next device. There are speculations that a future iphone, possibly iPhone 7, might have a water resistant technology based on a self-healing elastomer material.
Apple filed a patent last week detailing the use of a self-healing material over a device’s external connectors. This means future Apple devices might not need a flap to cover the connectors to be waterproof. The patent suggests external connectors will remain hidden under a material that will allow penetration and then automatically seal back when the external device is removed.
According to the patent filed by Apple:
The self-healing elastomer may obscure the electronic connectors from the user as well as provide environmental protection for the connector and the electronic device. Electronic probes may temporarily penetrate the self-healing elastomer to mate with the electronic connector. After removal of the probes the self-healing elastomer may elastically reform and self-heal.
This isn’t the first waterproof related patent filed by Apple. One was recently approved titled Liquid Expulsion From An Orifice. This patented technology uses sound to expel liquid from a certain parts of a device, like the speaker.
Taking it even further, a patent was recently filed too called Electronic Devices With Housing Port Shutters which also details another kind of protection against liquid. This allows shutters to automatically close openings on a device if the presence of a damaging element, like water, is detected.
As with most patents filed by Apple, we can’t be sure when it will be used on their devices or which device it will be found. However, there’s a chance the next iPhone might make use of one or two of these patented technologies.