Apple Wins a Patent for a System that Removes Moisture such as Salt Water, Gasses & Steam entering an iPhone's Speakers
Back in June Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple invented a Waterproofing Port System back in 2016 and today a Slow-Motion Video allows us to witness the System in Action." Our report included a video as presented below.
Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a newly granted patent for Apple Inc. that covers a similar water expelling system than the Apple Watch but this time to protect iPhone speakers.
Apple's patent figures below begin with FIGS. 2A & 2B showing that the invention regarding a water expelling system is for an iPhone this time around. Apple defines "moisture" as referring to fresh water, saltwater, liquids, gases, steam, and the like.
Apple's patent FIG. 5B further below illustrates a moisture removal system 500-B, in accordance with some embodiments. Similar to the moisture removal system 500-A, the moisture removal system 400-B includes a speaker and a sensor module disposed within a back volume. In contrast to the moisture removal system 500-A, the moisture removal system 500-B includes a hydrophobic coating 460 that coats the surface of the walls 512. The hydrophobic coating #570 may repel water from the walls. By lining the walls of the front volume, the hydrophobic coating #570 may forcefully drive moisture particles (#550) proximally towards the opening.
Apple's patent FIG. 5B illustrates the diaphragm of the speaker being actuated to displace an amount of air through the front volume #510. The amount of air is associated with an air pressure that forcefully drives the moisture particles #550 to the opening. Indeed, in some examples, the front volume #510 may be associated with an internal pressure that is greater than a pressure associated with an external environment outside of the portable electronic device 100. In other words, the front volume is associated with a high-pressure zone and the external environment is associated with a low-pressure zone. As there is a pressure gradient, the amount of air displaced within the front volume 510 by the diaphragm rushes from the high-pressure zone to the low-pressure zone by way of the opening 516 in an attempt to reach an equilibrium pressure state. FIG. 4B illustrates that the diaphragm actuates between a first position D.sub.1 and a second position D.sub.2 such as to displace air within the front volume.
Apple's patent FIG. 5C above illustrates a moisture removal system in accordance with some embodiments. As illustrated in FIG. 5C, the magnetic coils (#524) are capable of generating sufficient heat to evaporate the moisture particles (#550) into evaporated moisture (#552), which is capable of swelling as a gas through the opening.
In contrast to the moisture removal system 500-B, the moisture removal system includes a combination of a hydrophobic coating (#570) and a hydrophilic coating (#572). The moisture removal system further includes an acoustic mesh barrier (#560) that prevents metallic particles from entering the speaker by way of the front volume. In particular, the metallic particles may interfere with the magnetic driver (#522) of the speaker, as the magnetic driver includes a magnet.
However, when the portable electronic device (iPhone) is exposed to saltwater, e.g., during a surfing session in Santa Cruz, the saltwater crystals may leave a residue on the acoustic mesh barrier when the saltwater evaporates. Accordingly, the diaphragm may be actuated to sufficiently remove the saltwater crystals from the acoustic mesh barrier. Furthermore, the processor may in communication with a sensor that is capable of detecting the presence of saltwater crystals on the acoustic mesh barrier.
According to some embodiments, the opening may be overlaid with a mesh lining (#514) that prevents some moisture particles (#550) and/or larger debris from entering the front volume. Furthermore, the acoustic mesh barrier prevents metallic particles from entering the back volume (#508). However, both of the mesh lining and the acoustic mesh barrier (#560) are associated with a respective amount of resistance (i.e., resistance threshold), which the speaker must overcome in order to expel the moisture particles past the acoustic mesh barrier and the mesh lining to reach the opening.
Apple's granted patent was originally filed in Q1 2019 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.