New Apple Patent Application Shows Underwater iPhone Usage: Force Touch-Like System Implementation

Apple is testing out new ways to use the iPhone under unfavorable circumstances. One of these circumstances includes using the device underwater, as seen in a recently filed patent.

Apple is Looking for Methods to Increase the iPhone’s Usability Underwater

According to the story by Digital Trends, the company is looking at methods to help increase the iPhone’s usability when exposed to certain moisture-heavy scenarios, including being underwater or even out in rainfall.

The main objective is to be able to enhance the display’s touch sensitivity in certain scenarios or help create a system capable of offering touch sensitivity in order to discern between finger-based gestures and accidental ghost touch that comes from exposure to liquid.

Technology to Help Determine Whether the Device is Wet or Being Pressed

As per a recent patent application by Apple, one of the implementations could include a Force Touch-like system. This particular system could measure how much force is being exerted on the screen.

The patent includes the idea of ​​using a certain force input detection sensor or load detector for the device to be able to identify the point of touch input and be able to discern whether it comes from a finger or just a random liquid splash.

Tech can be used as Environmental Sensors as well

There are also a lot of technical pathways through which the proposed system could be carried out. An example of this is having an ambient light sensor that will start things into motion once there has been a reduction in moisture over the sensor or when the device is being used underwater.

Another purpose of a pressure sensor capable of determining water immersion is that it can be used as an environmental sensor as well. An electromagnetic sensor capable of emitting radiations like infrared waves can also be used as an environmental sensor.

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iPhones are Moving Towards Better Underwater Use with Recent IP68 Rating

The environmental sensor would work by checking if the surrounding space is covered or submerged in water. The camera array can also be used in order to perform depth analysis of its surroundings through studying different optical characteristics.

This would also include the refractive index of the surrounding and light absorption patterns in order to better analyze whether the device is submerged in liquid. The patent application shows the idea of ​​making use of capacitors in order to tell the difference between “true touch” and “false touch.”

Aside from sensitivity, the patent also mentions certain UI elements tweaks to make the device more usable underwater. An example of this is apps being enlarged for better access. According to the article by Screen Rant, both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lineups already feature an IP68 rating for their water-resistance of six meters for up to 30 minutes.

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Written by Urian B.

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