Apple Patent Details Standalone Water Detector for iPhone, Apple Watch

Image: Patently Apple

The US Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) on Thursday published a patent application from Apple for a new next-gen, stand-alone water detector with a sensor and expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) membrane architecture — reports Patently Apple.

“The stand-alone device can be used to replace a system-level venting membrane to provide the system with more contextual awareness into its current state, which would allow it to behave in an intelligent manner (alert user, shutdown, etc.),” said the publication.

“In addition, the stand-alone device could be used in other devices such as speakers or microphones to provide contextual awareness to run a water-ejection tone or tune-driving and sensing parameters based on water-log state (i.e., gains, filtering, etc.).”

Patently Apple suggests the Cupertino, California-based tech giant may be targeting the ATMOSPHERE (ATM) water rating system, which goes beyond the traditional IP rating certification for dust and water resistance, for the iPhone and Apple Watch with the technology it has applied to patent.

Under the ATM system, the three most notable ratings are 5 ATM/BAR (50 meters below sea level), 10 ATM/BAR (100 meters below sea level), and 20 ATM/BAR (200 meters below sea level). Devices rated for 20 ATM/BAR are tailored specifically for skin diving and high-speed sporting.

Being rated under the ATM system would certify the iPhone for water resistance well beyond that of the iPhone 13’s IP68 rating (which Apple’s recent iPhones have demonstrated they not only meet but also exceed).

An ATM-rated Apple Watch, on the other hand, would far surpass what we can even begin to expect from the ‘Explorer Edition’ rugged Apple Watch that has been rumoured for a 2022 launch by analysts.

The Apple Watch is already well-suited to light submersion, equipped with the ‘Water Lock’ and the ability to eject any water that ends up in its speaker, but an ATM rating would qualify it for deep-water diving and other extreme sports.

The stand-alone water detector Apple is seeking to patent could enable the company to make a play for the extreme sporting market. In June of last year, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman reported that Apple was considering entering the extreme sports market.

You can read about the patent in detail over at Patently Apple, or review patent application 20220099513 for more information.