Apple Patents Waterproofing Method 'For Shielding Electronic Components from Moisture'

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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today published a patent application created by Apple, detailing a method for the extensive waterproofing of various components within a device, possibly an iPhone, thus creating a completely waterproof smartphone without the need of a special case (via Patently Apple).

Originally filed in September of 2013, the patent application describes a "hydrophobic coating" to be layered onto integral parts within a device, like its printed circuit board. Apple describes achieving this using a "plasma-assisted chemical vapor deposition (PACVD) process" that would adhere the coating substance onto the surface of the printed circuit board in such a way as to not take up much additional room in the already small casing of a smartphone.

In the bigger picture, immersing electronic devices in water generally has predictably negative results. Through testing it has been determined that high voltage power components are more likely to short or malfunction after only brief exposure to liquids or moisture. More specifically, exposed metal areas having high voltage differentials in close proximity can easily experience short circuit events when corrosion or water immersion bridges the gap between such areas.

By providing an insulating layer or barrier around these highly susceptible parts, water resistance can be substantially increased without obscuring functional openings leading into a device housing of a particular electronic device. A thin hydrophobic (i.e., water resistant) conformal coating having a thickness between at least one and ten microns can be applied to a substrate using a plasma-assisted chemical vapor deposition (PACVD) process. The PACVD process charges the surface of the substrate so that the coating can be bonded to the charged surface.
Though not completely waterproof as Apple's new patent intends a device to be, Tim Cook recently stated that the company's upcoming Apple Watch will in fact be a bit more water resistant than previously thought. He stated that he wears his personal Apple Watch everywhere, "even in the shower." If so, the Watch will be the company's first device with such a water resistant claim.

While the patent application doesn't specifically state what device the waterproof process could be attributed to, it's easy to see the company reasoning the method for use on iPhone and iPad. Although, like with all other patents, the practicality of a completely waterproof iPhone launching anytime soon is highly unlikely, but it's always an interesting glimpse behind the scenes regarding what the company may be considering for its future.

Article Link: Apple Patents Waterproofing Method 'For Shielding Electronic Components from Moisture'
 

Loucifer

macrumors member
Feb 16, 2012
47
27
London
Just alerting you to the typo, hydroponic below is of course a typo for hydrophobic.

Keep up the good work x

Originally filed in September of 2013, the patent application describes a "hydroponic coating" to be layered onto integral parts within a device, like its printed circuit board. Apple describes achieving this using a "plasma-assisted
 

waldobushman

macrumors regular
Mar 3, 2011
110
0
waterproof watch?

So the Apple watch is can be used in the shower? Good to hear but I hope it is waterproofed for swimming. The lack of waterproofing is a killer for me, as I wear my Timex 24x7 including while swimming laps.

Now the Apple Watch might get my attention.
 

Karma*Police

macrumors 68000
Jul 15, 2012
1,903
1,390
iPhone 6 and plus are water resistant. Apple doesn't advertise it (for good reason) so it's not a well known fact.
 

Tankmaze

macrumors 68000
Mar 7, 2012
1,662
276
I remember read somewhere that the lightning connector is already waterproof. So I wouldn't be surprise if iphone 6s or 7 would be waterproof, the apple watch already waterproof.
 

tuslaw12

macrumors newbie
Sep 24, 2014
26
23
Akron Ohio
Correct me if Im wrong but from what I understand is this design will only water proof the parts on the inside and some water will still be able to get on the inside since the ports are not covered. If water can still get on the inside won't that cause other problems such as mold or just water slushing around in the phone since you have no way of drying it out? I hope i just read that wrong because that seems like it could be a big issue.
 

darcyf

macrumors 6502a
Apr 25, 2011
523
669
Toronto, ON
This would save so many people so much money. And heartbreak. Losing $2k device to a nudge of a glass is a tough pill to swallow for anyone.
 

darcyf

macrumors 6502a
Apr 25, 2011
523
669
Toronto, ON
Correct me if Im wrong but from what I understand is this design will only water proof the parts on the inside and some water will still be able to get on the inside since the ports are not covered. If water can still get on the inside won't that cause other problems such as mold or just water slushing around in the phone since you have no way of drying it out? I hope i just read that wrong because that seems like it could be a big issue.
The major issue is circuits being damaged, sometimes on microscopic levels, due to liquid contact. It kills the phone, sometimes immediately and sometimes through a series of malfunctions over time. If the circuits can be protected then water getting inside is nowhere near the issue it is today.

Any liquid trapped inside a protected device would eventually find its way out through gravity and evaporation. Trust me, this would be so much better.
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,534
25,266
My Xoeria Z3 is waterproof. Why is Apple lagging here?
In my experience in the tech world, saying anything is waterproof suddenly gives consumers the attitude that the phone can be bashed about, freely used in the shower/bath, and generally they get angrier when it fails.

To advertise a product as 'waterproof' suddenly opens up a whole new world of problems - if the phone fails because the internal components are liquid damaged, would that be covered under warranty? Would there be grounds to go through consumer rights, because the phone was advertised as waterproofed and yet was damaged by water? Would liquid damage still not be covered under warranty, in which case why advertise it as being waterproof?

If liquid damage is covered under warranty on a phone advertised as being waterproof, then that means the manufacturer is accepting a much larger liability -- one that could simply be avoided by waterproofing the phone, but not advertising or confirming that this is the fact.

With the greatest of respect, Sony using and heavily advertising waterproofing on their Xperia Z3 as one of many features to try and stand out in a profit-struggling market (Android phones) is very different to the consistently top-selling iPhone suddenly becoming waterproofed. If Apple reject one warranty claim, then everybody will hear about it, the news will go ballistic, and they'll probably have a lawsuit on their hands. You must appreciate the difference.
 

Karma*Police

macrumors 68000
Jul 15, 2012
1,903
1,390
Source? I never knew this.
http://www.tomsguide.com/us/iphone-6-durability-test,news-19594.html

"The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were similarly resilient during SquareTrade's water test, in which they were submerged in water for 10 seconds with music playing. Both phones kept ticking after taking a swim, with audio stopping only temporarily on both."

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Lies... and I bet the mods won't even ban you... :roll eyes:

Proof: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG4SBGwohMc
Why so angry? Do you work for Google or Samsung? Notice I said water RESISTANT, not waterPROOF.

http://9to5mac.com/2014/09/23/new-rubber-gaskets-around-buttons-help-iphone-6plus-withstand-brief-dips-in-water/

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Granted he's probably full of ****.

By itself without further elaboration, Water Resistant is a vague term.

Your video shows the iPhone lasting a good 60 seconds under water. That demonstrates Water Resistance.
You contradict yourself. I can't be full of **** AND be right at the same time. Apple added gaskets around the openings for the first time with iPhone 6/plus and independent studies show that they are water resistant as you correctly stated.

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Sounds like he's trolling.

Reminds me when people thought that iOS 7 (or was it 8?) made the phone unshatterable.
The level of negativity and lack of reading comprehension on MR is truly astounding at times. Water RESISTANT does not mean water proof. Apple added some measures to improve the IP rating of their latest iPhones. That doesn't mean you can go scuba diving with it. It just means that it's harder for water to get inside the iPhone 6 than in previous generations to protect it against the occasional spill, rain and/or brief submersion.
 

Carmenia83

macrumors 6502
Feb 25, 2012
358
447
Did Liquipel not patent this? They've been showing off the same technology at CES for a few years now...
 

Zelmung

macrumors member
Sep 24, 2014
72
132
Vancouver
Isn't this the exact same idea as Neverwet?

http://youtu.be/DZrjXSsfxMQ

At the end of the video he coats the inside of the iPhone with the hydrophobic layer.
 

samcraig

macrumors P6
Jun 22, 2009
16,637
41,608
USA
I was wondering the same thing - how can this really deserve a patent when there are already similar solutions.

Further - liquipel seems more comprehensive than isolated to specific areas
 

AppDiggity

macrumors member
Feb 24, 2015
35
0
I am not sure if any phone will ever be completely waterproof, but this is a step in the right direction I guess.
 

newagemac

macrumors 68020
Mar 31, 2010
2,091
23
Did Liquipel not patent this? They've been showing off the same technology at CES for a few years now...
I was wondering the same thing - how can this really deserve a patent when there are already similar solutions.

Further - liquipel seems more comprehensive than isolated to specific areas
Do people still not understand how patents work? I'm sure Liquipel patented their method for waterproofing. And here we see Apple patenting their own method. Ideas (like waterproofing a device) can't be patented. Only methods to do so can be patented.

Ideally there will be hundreds of different patented methods to accomplish an idea (from many different companies/entrepreneurs/innovators) and the best one wins in the marketplace. Then when the patents expire, humanity gets to use them all.
 
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