With bend tests a distant memory, maybe it’s time to think about bringing back dunk tests. Apple has filed a patent titled “Methods for shielding electronic components from moisture,” which hints at a possible future of waterproofed Apple devices – iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and maybe more.
“Many electronic devices are susceptible to water damage because they are not fully sealed and include various openings for charging, connecting peripherals, and inputting and outputting audio,” according to the patent filed by Apple on March 31, 2014 and published on March 5, 2015. To combat the threat of water, the patent describes a hydrophobic (i.e., water-repelling) coating with a thickness between one and 10 microns, which would be thin enough to prevent interference with functional openings in an electronic device.
This hydrophobic coating can be applied to a device’s printed circuit board (PCB) by a plasma assisted chemical vapor deposition (PACVD) process, which charges a substrate’s surface to bond the coating to the charged surface. “The plasma then settles on and adheres to the component, providing a robust, water-resistant, corrosion-resistant protective seal for the component,” according to the patent, which addresses other approaches to waterproofing electronic devices.