Apple mulls underwater mode that lets users operate iPhones at 40m depth

The existing iPhone models can stay underwater at 6m depth for up to 30 minutes

In the patent, Apple says iOS 17 is 'cumbersome and inefficient' when the phone becomes wet In the patent, Apple says iOS 17 is 'cumbersome and inefficient' when the phone becomes wet | Apple

Apple has won a new patent for "underwater mode" that gets activated when the iPhone is immersed in water. The mode can reportedly allow users to operate touchscreen and camera seamlessly at up to 40 metre depth.

The 78-page patent filed in 2021 was published on Tuesday.

It outlines an alternative interface tailored specifically for underwater use of iPhone. In the patent, Apple says iOS 17 is "cumbersome and inefficient" when the phone becomes wet.

In order to overcome these hurdles, the Cupertino giant has come up with the idea of an underwater mode similar to the dive mode currently available on Apple Watch Ultra models.

The Ultra series can sustain water pressure up to 100 metre. However, the up to 40m-deep underwater mode for iPhone is a first for any smartphones currently in the market. The latest iPhone 15 series has an IP68 rating, allowing it to withstand submersion for up to 30 minutes at six-metre depth.

However, the water resistance of iPhone 15 models can be compromised by cracks or scratches. For this, Apple is mulling to make its next iPhone model featuring the underwater mode a rugged one like the Apple Watch Ultra series, in a bid to woo adventurers involved in ocean and water sports.

When introducing Apple Watch Ultra, the tech giant said the device is designed for users indulging in "extreme activities like kitesurfing and wakeboarding, along with recreational scuba diving to 40 meters with the new Oceanic+ app. To support these underwater adventures, Apple Watch Ultra is certified to WR100. Apple Watch Ultra is also certified to EN 13319, which is an internationally recognised standard for dive accessories, including depth gauges that are relied upon by recreational divers around the world."

We can expect similar features in the next iPhone model that features the underwater mode. However, it is not clear whether the next iPhone 16 Pro Max or a speculated iPhone 16 'Ultra' will feature this underwater interface.


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