Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to computer user interfaces, and more specifically to Apple's newly designed underwater mode user interface when an iDevice is working under water. The user can switch back to the standard iOS UI when back on land. The UI seems to be geared towards Snorkelers who love taking photos and videos while underwater This could be a very popular feature indeed.
Apple's invention provides electronic devices with faster, more efficient methods for accessing underwater user interfaces and interfaces for interacting with an electronic device while the electronic device is under water.
Such methods and interfaces optionally complement or replace other methods and interfaces for interacting with an electronic device while the electronic device is under water.
Such methods and interfaces reduce the number, extent, and/or nature of the inputs from a user, reduce the cognitive burden on the user, and produce a more efficient human-machine interface.
For battery-operated computing devices, such methods and interfaces conserve power and increase the time between battery charges. Further, such methods and interfaces also streamline operations performed to access underwater user interfaces and for operating an electronic device while underwater, which reduce unnecessary received inputs and improves user efficiency and output.
Apple's patent FIG. 6E below which illustrates device #100 after the device is completely submerged in water.
Apple's underwater indicator (#5018) is displayed in the status bar of the device (iPhone) to indicate that the device is under water. Until it's underwater, the standard iOS interface is in place.
Apple shows us that their engineering team is considering to simply the user interface for the underwater version of iOS and presents us with two distinct styles as seen in patent FIGS. 6G and 6H.
Certain new iPhone (or device) buttons are shown for the underwater version. There are two dedicated buttons reserved to turn on the camera and flashlight quickly. Whether users will be able to set these buttons to other preferred apps in the device's settings is unknown at this time.
Apple's patent FIG. 6N below illustrates displaying underwater camera user interface #5115 while the device is under water.
Apple's patent application 20200104021 that was published today by the U.S. Patent Office was filed back in Q4 2018. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
Some of the inventors listed are: SungChang Lee; Sr. Reliability Engineer for iDevice reliability; Maxime Chevreton, Reliability Engineer; Kyle Cruz, iPhone Reliability Engineer; Ki Myung Lee, iOS HW Reliability; Eric Shi, iPhone Reliability Engineer.
Up until this patent I never heard of a "reliability engineer." I guess it's safe to now say that they all worked on Apple's underwater mode UI for iDevices.