Apple files Patent Describing a new Water Resistant Coating Process and other Waterproofing Modifications
Yesterday Patently Apple posted a patent report titled "Apple Files Patent for a new Temperature Sensor tied to a new Interactive Battery Indicator." This morning Patently Apple discovered yet another European patent filing from Apple that describes new ways of waterproofing iDevices. Currently the Samsung Galaxy S9 carries a waterproof rating of IP68 while Apple's iPhone X is a little behind with an IP67 rating. Today's patent filing illustrates that Apple is aiming to bring at least an IP68 rating to future iPhones.
For the record, IP67 means protection for up to 1m of immersion for up to 30 minutes, including splashing from a shower or an accidental (and brief) dunking. IP68 means protection against submersion beyond 1m. May also mean that a device is hermetically sealed or merely that any water that can get inside will cause no damage.
Apple's invention covers iDevices having liquid-resistant modifications that prevent liquid ingress into an opening (or openings) in an enclosure of the electronic device. For example, the iDevice may include a coating formed from a liquid-resistant material that is applied internally to the enclosure. The electronic device may further include a frame that carries a protective transparent layer designed to cover a display assembly.
In order to secure the frame with the enclosure, the iDevice may include an adhesive assembly disposed over an outer perimeter of the coating. The adhesive assembly may include several adhesive parts initially separate from one another. However, with the adhesive parts between the frame and the enclosure, the adhesive parts can be compressed by the frame and the enclosure, causing the adhesive parts to expand and engage each other. As a result, the coating and the adhesive parts provide a seal against liquid.
Apple's patent FIG. 5 noted below illustrates an isometric view of the device enclosure # 102 undergoing a coating operation. As shown, the enclosure may further include a first layer #182 and a second layer #184 disposed in the internal volume and positioned in locations corresponding to the first part and the second parts respectively. The first layer and the second layer may provide a rigid layer in locations generally void of the enclosure materials.
The coating tool #190 may apply a spray coating #192 that includes a polymeric material, such as polyurethane, as a non-limiting example. However, other materials, such as UV-cured glues or other sealing materials may be used.
The spray coating is designed to cover the first layer and the second layer, particularly in locations corresponding to the first part and the second part. In this manner, the spray coating may seal the enclosure and prevent liquid ingress entering the channels (not shown) located in areas corresponding to the first part and the second part.
Once the spray coating is applied to the enclosure, the spray coating is cured by a heating operation. Also, in some instances, the enclosure includes a mask used to prevent the spray coating from contacting certain predetermined locations of the enclosure, such as locations in which some internal components are secured or fastened within the enclosure. The mask may be removed subsequent to the coating operation.
Apple's patent FIG. 6 above illustrates the enclosure shown in FIG. 5 subsequent to the coating operation and removal of the mask. Subsequent to the removal of the mask, FIG. 6 shows a first coating and a second coating covering the first layer and the second layer respectively. The first coating and the second coating remain to provide an ingress barrier to liquids that may pass through the aforementioned channels that receive the first part and the second part.
Apple's patent FIG. 12 illustrates an exploded view of a switch assembly that includes a switch as well as several additional components that assemble with the switch #110. The switch may be connected to a switch body #202 that allows the switch to actuate relative to the switch body. The switch body may include a film #210 disposed on the switch body which may include a liquid resistant material. In some embodiments, the film includes a nylon film.
Apple's FIG. 19 below illustrates an isometric view of the first fastener #126 and a sealing element #402. The sealing element may include a polymeric material, such as polyurethane. The sealing element may also include a compliant, liquid-resistant material that compresses in response to some forces.
Apple's patent FIG. 21 illustrates an isometric view of dock assembly # 500 (that receives a lighting connector) that includes a first sealing element #510 that seals an opening #520
Apple further notes that the moisture detection sensor #512 may include an electronic moisture detection circuit electrically coupled with the circuit. In this instance, the moisture detection sensor requires an opening (not shown) along the rear portion in order to electrically couple with the circuit. The first sealing element #510 may cover at least a portion of the opening to provide ingress protection at the moisture detection sensor.
IN Apple' patent FIG. 26 presented above we're able to see an illustration of a SIM card tray #144 and the sealing element #146 designed to limit or prevent liquid ingress.
Apple's European patent application was originally filed in Q3 2017 and published on March 15, 2018. There are 21 Apple engineers associated with this invention.
A few of the inventors include Xiao Ying Zhao, iPhone Product Design Engineer; Timothy Lui, Product Design Engineer – Mechanical design of subsystems in the iPhone product line; Tyler Cater, iPhone Product Design Engineer; Scott Myers, Senior Manager, iPhone Product Design; and Richard Dinh, Director, iPhone Product Design. Dinh collaborate across organizations to develop the roadmap for iPhone and other future products at Apple.
Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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