Apple May be Developing a Lightning Connector With a Waterproof Seal

When Apple (finally) introduced water resistance to the iPhone lineup, it was met with plenty of positive remarks. But there is still work that could be done to help make the iPhone safe around water.

While it’s possible to keep an iPhone working even if you drop it in water, thanks to the current water and dust resistance of the handsets on newer models, if you happen to drop the phone in water while it’s charging or connected to another accessory, you could still run into some issues. In that scenario, the Lightning connector would still be getting wet, and that could cause a short.

So, taking individual steps to waterproof the device is still underway at Apple, at least in the patent application stage. Patently Apple discovered the applications recently, with one pair introducing a very simple route to waterproof the iPhone: Change the shape of the Lightning connector, so that it has a wedge design. Inside the phone, the wedge shape would push through a protective gate, which would seal off the entrance when the cable is connected.

There is another option, though, as discovered by The Verge, which is a bit more in-depth. This method would have the iPhone, or some other Apple device, creating a vacuum seal when the charging connector is inserted. The patent application actually details pistons and a generator inside the device to make this scenario a reality. That proposed generator would also be able to send out vibrations through the device, so it would serve different purposes.

It’s worth pointing out that in the patent applications, Apple’s vision actually seems to hint that the accessories themselves that are connected to the iPhone or other device would have the generator needed to create the vacuum seal, and not the iPhone itself.

Our Take

As is par for the course here, just because we’re seeing a patent application now doesn’t mean we’ll ever actually see either one of these options become a reality. Water resistance is great for smartphones, to be sure, and further waterproofing would definitely be a good thing. This is obviously something that Apple has been working on, in some capacity or another, so maybe one day we see it actually happen.

[via Patently Apple; The Verge; USPTO]

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