An Apple patent conceptualizing an alternative operating mode for iPhones leveraging simplified on-screen interfaces plus external buttons hints at enabling underwater functionality down to 40 meters depth at some point. Titled “Underwater Mode for Device”, the extensive 78-page documentation spots seamless submerged usage bottlenecks.
While no existing iPhone allows functionality beyond 1-6 meters depth briefly, Apple Watch models already support recreational scuba diving. So the patent reinforces Apple’s progressive waterproofing efforts now likely targeting enhanced resilience among future handset generations if commercially introduced.
Overcoming Wet Finger Limitations
The proprietary interface displays enlarged, well-spaced icons with greater reliance on hardware keys instead of multi-finger gestures proving troublesome when soaked. Even displayed elements turn intentionally linear from existing grid structures easing operation through trickier conditions.
Specific use-cases shown include zoomed underwater photography mapping camera adjustments to volume keys alongside other dedicated external controls. Bringing core features into gloves-free operation potentially opens engaging use-cases from the oceans’ depths.
Future-Forward Concept or Passing Fancy?
Industry analysts argue that while radicle patent filings demonstrate ambitious thought leadership, many never culminate into shipped offerings eventually. Cost, demand or engineering challenges regarding sealing powerful compute hardware inside minuscule smartphone frames stay monumental.
However, Apple’s demonstrated penchant for steady, calculated progression marrying usability with resilience makes future iterations crossing current consumer pain-points conceivable depending on expectation fluidity. For now, third-party waterproof casings suffice meeting niche needs.