Apple is still lagging behind the competition when it comes to water-proofing its devices, but the Cupertino company may have a solution in the works. A newly approved patent reveals how future iPhones could become water-resistant.
The patent, which was filed in 2014 and approved on Thursday, describes a “self-healing elastomer” that could protect the device’s ports without blocking them from entry. Every time you plugged in headphones or a Lightning connector it would break the water-resistant seal. Then when you unplug the protective cover would reform automatically.
It’s a clever idea, though we’re not exactly sure how Apple would pull it off. There are also plenty of water-resistant smartphones with uncovered ports already on the market, meaning this particular solution isn’t the only option.
Apple’s actually come up with a few ideas already. One patent published earlier this year described a system that would protect specific internal components like the circuit board from water damage. That means water could actually enter the device without ruining it.
Rumor has it the iPhone 7 may actually boast a water-proof design, among other improvements. Clearly Apple is at least considering the idea, but there’s still no guarantee that either patent will translate into an actual new feature.