Apple wins a Patent for iPhone GUIs with Special Wet Modes that allow a user to take a photo or shoot a Video underwater
Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple a patent that relates to detecting when an iPhone is exposed to a moisture event. More particularly, Apple's patent involves an iPhone executing specialized functions in conjunction with detecting moisture events. One such event places the iPhone GUI into underwater mode that allows for only limited functionality such as taking a photo or shooting a video.
Apple's granted patent describes techniques for enabling an electronic device to modify its functionality in response to determining that the electronic device is exposed to a moisture event. In some examples, the electronic device can refer to a media player, a camera, a smartphone, a smartwatch, a computer tablet, a portable computer, a fitness tracker, a touchscreen electronic device, and the like.
Although recent technological advances have enabled electronic devices to execute a number of different user functions (e.g., take photographs, capture video, place phone calls, browse the internet, etc.), these electronic devices are unable to optimally execute these different user functions when the electronic device is exposed to an inhospitable environment (e.g., a wet environment) or a challenging event (e.g., the user is wearing non-capacitive gloves to operate a touchscreen display of the electronic device).
In particular, although electronic devices could utilize touchscreen displays to determine when a selection of a user function is executed, the hardware components/software components associated with these touchscreen displays are unable to optimally execute these user functions (e.g., accurately determine a position of the touch input) on a consistent basis when exposed to such inhospitable environments or challenging events. Consequently, the user experience suffers.
According to some embodiments, the electronic device could be configured to determine when it is currently exposed to the moisture event. In some examples, the moisture event could range between a small amount of liquid that is present on a cover layer of the electronic device to the electronic device being completely submerged within a liquid.
When the electronic device is exposed to the moisture event, a touch input detection component of the electronic device may be unable to accurately determine a position of a touch input event at the cover layer. For instance, the presence of the liquid could cause the touch input detection component to indicate "false touches." Additionally, the electronic device could be configured to implement different functionalities based on the type of moisture event that is detected.
Apple's patent FIGS. 11A-11C below illustrate conceptual diagrams of example user interfaces that could be configured to provide specialized functionality in Dry, Wet and Underwater Modes.
More specifically to the iPhone's underwater mode seen above, the iPhone (#100) could present a user interface 1104c that is associated with the camera application. For example, the user interface 1104c could present a live image of a surfer who duck-dives beneath a 30-foot wave at Mavericks.
In such a scenario, the iPhone could determine that it's exposed to a moisture event (e.g., submerged underwater). Accordingly, the user interface 1104c could present an indication 1106 that the current moisture event corresponds to an underwater mode.
For example, the user interface could present a simplified camera interface, where only a limited set of icons (#1113a-b) are presented. For example, the limited set of icons 1113a-b could include a photography icon (#1113a) and a video icon (#1113b).
Additionally, in contrast to the user interfaces #1104a-b, the user interface #1104c does not include a shutter icon #1108. Instead, the user could select the photography icon #1113a to take a photograph and the video icon #1113b to capture a video of the live image.
For more details, review Apple's granted patent 10,976,278