Apple’s upcoming iPhone may allow users to type in rain, underwater

by Dikhyaa Mohanty

The Cupertino- based tech giant’s new patent named “Modifying functionality of an electronic device during a moisture exposure event” has reportedly been approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office(USPTO). The patent suggests that Apple is planning to modify the iPhone with the ability to work during “a moisture exposure event”, such as rain. The company plans to use the inbuilt pressure and moisture sensors to detect water and accordingly adjust the software.

According to the reports, the software could change the size of the on-screen button and place them further from each other in the display in case of a little rain to reduce the chances of getting accidental touch inputs. It could also enable the iPhone to adjust the pressure sensitivity of its display and register only touch inputs where a certain amount of force is applied.  With this, the iPhone could avoid responding to false inputs that could be registered from rain drops.

  The patent explained that the electronic device can include a moisture detector capable of detecting an amount of moisture present at the protective cover, where when the amount of moisture is greater than a threshold amount, the processor determines the position of the touch event based on detection signals provided by the capacitance detector and the applied force detector.

The patent documentation has also revealed that the company may add different modes to configure touch responses, called wet, dry, and underwater. In the case of the wet and dry modes, the iPhone could change the force input detection to accept touch inputs — depending on whether the user’s finger is dry or wet. The underwater mode, however, can enable the iPhone to modify the interface and make it simpler to be used underwater, per the patent description.

The iPhone can also offer “dry,” “wet,” and “underwater” modes in the camera app. The different types of configuration will be set for the camera as per the types of modes selected by the users. For example, in the wet mode, some features will be removed from the UI whereas, in the underwater mode, some of the controls will be replaced with extra-large buttons. These buttons will help users to activate the camera underwater. The patent filing suggested that it could also adjust specifics including white balance settings, ISO sensitivity, and clarity of the camera unit as well as its display brightness.

Meanwhile, the iPhone displays are also expected to show “the current depth of the device”” for users to “keep it within the limits of the handset’s water resistance.”

However, note that this new technology may get implemented or not in the future as Apple gets several patents approved every year, but not all of them have been used.

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