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New iFixit Teardown discovers yet another Apple Patent Come to Life

10. 0 PA NEWS -


After Apple's Special event earlier this month we posted three reports about patents being fulfilled (one, two and three) which covered many products and new categories. Yesterday, thanks to the great investigative work done by iFixit's Jeff Suovanen, yet another Apple invention/patent may have come to life. 


Suovanen noted in his report posted yesterday that "On Friday, we tore down Apple's two newest iPhones and found something new lurking (quite literally) just below the surface. We had our suspicions, based in part on Apple patent filings in one particular area: waterproofing. Apple has been investigating a waterproof (or, more accurately, liquid proof) iPhone for at least the last several years. If that strip of sticky goop on the 6s wasn't put there to hold the display in, then maybe—just maybe—it was designed to keep liquids out. Like a gasket!"


Over the weekend iFixit decided to do a little more investigating and "After disassembling a couple of new iPhones in the name of science," they found that "First, Apple takes this gasket business pretty seriously: they didn't just run a strip of glue around the existing display like they were caulking a bathtub. Instead, it appears the iPhone's frame has been subtly reworked to accommodate the new gasket. We noted a slight, but measurable, increase in the width of the lip running along the perimeter of the frame—it's about 0.3 mm wider than on the iPhone 6, making it just wide enough for that little gasket to land on. One-third of a millimeter may not seem like much, but given how tight the iPhone's tolerances are nowadays, the change is big enough to see with the naked eye. And it's almost certainly enough of a change that other components had to be subtly tweaked to match. Make no mistake, Apple gave this careful thought.


The logic board brought a bigger surprise. Every cable connector on the board—from the battery and display, to the Lightning port and buttons—is surrounded by what appears to be a tiny silicon seal. Those little connectors are the most vulnerable bits of the device—quick to short out and corrode during unplanned aquatic excursions. Apple filed a patent for waterproof silicon seals on board-to-board connectors just this past March. It appears this is one patent they've rapidly put into production."


The patent iFixit referred to in their report was one that we covered back in our March which was titled "Apple Invents a Waterproofing Method for Future iDevices using Hydrophobic Conformal Coatings and Silicon Seals."


Suovanen later added that "As we noted in our initial teardown, the power and volume buttons underwent a minor redesign, but they haven't yet adopted the more radical waterproof profile seen in another Apple patent filing. Perhaps Apple will save that particular innovation for the iPhone 7 (rumors have pegged the iPhone 7 as fully 'waterproof,' as opposed to just water resistant)."


The bottom line is that it appears that yet another patent has been fulfilled and one that I certainly couldn't have ever uncovered on my own. So my hat goes off to the great iFixit investigators who re-did their teardown of the new iPhone 6s just to find that Apple's patent-pending invention relating to silicon seals has in-part come to life. Cheers!


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