“Premium smartphones” often means powerful processors and stunning displays wrapped in an all-metal body, but what is consistently left off that feature list, unless your Sony and (formerly) Samsung, is waterproofing. Now, Apple is looking into how its next smartphone could completely repel water without changing design at all.
Those rumours stem from a new patent application Apple filed last Thursday, which reveals that the company is actively researching new methods of waterproofing its phones. The patent filing outlines a process for coating the phone’s integral components with a hydrophobic spray, coupled with electromagnetic interference fields, often used in consumer electronics to avoid environmental damage.
Hydrophobic spray coatings offer a critical advantage over other waterproofing techniques, mainly being that they don’t interfere with phone design at all. So come September (most likely), Jony Ive can give us another speech about “stunning design” in his dulcet British accent.
This, of course, is just a patent filing and not a confirmed feature for new iPhones, which will most likely be announced in the fall (as is tradition). And whether Apple can actually manage to make a spray coating that’s truly water resistant remains to be seen. After all, in 2013 everyone got excited about the new “NeverWet” spray which promised to waterproof a host of consumer electronics, including the iPhone 5. That spray ended up being a resounding disappointment.
Still, if Apple manages to make a breakthrough, then this feature could fill a need that many companies seem to be abandoning. Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge both lack the waterproofing features of earlier models, and Sony, perhaps the most well-known for waterproofing smartphones, seems to be leaving the Android handset game altogether.