Friday, March 6, 2015

Apple Researching Device Waterproofing

Waterproofing – Future iDevices 

It was revealed that Apple has been researching on various ways to successfully waterproof the future iDevices somewhere in March 2012 where a silicon rubber seal was discovered. In 2013 the company revealed another creation related to waterproofing, using nano coatings.

Apple was granted the patent for waterproofing in 2014 which covered the use of glass filled nylon and today a new waterproof patent application from Apple was published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office covering the use of a hydrophobic conformal coating designed to increase moisture resistance of electrical components, a feature which at times is attributed to active smartphone models that are marketed by competing manufacturers of smartphones.

Apple’s filing, as published by U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for `Methods for shielding electronic components from moisture indicates a process for covering sensitive device components with the use of advanced vapour deposition technology together with protecting solder leads with silicone seals.

Devices not adequately Sealed/Mitigating Water Entry

In the present scenario, electronic devices have been taking priorities in the daily performances with the majority of the people relying on these devices for every function and carrying them along to locations where there could be instances of damages one of which could be damage through excess moisture especially during the monsoon season.

Most of these devices are not adequately sealed and could have chances of mitigating water entry through the openings which do not have a protective case to protect the device. The focus of Apple is in improving the moisture resistance of an assembled printed circuit board wherein in one embodiment, a system is set for applying a hydrophobic conformal coating to a printed circuit board or PCB.

This could include a way of depositing a hydrophobic conformal coating over an exterior surface of the electromagnetic interference –EMO shield together with the PCB by chemical vapour deposition – CVD operation. The EMI shield could also have openings on top of an electrical component over the PCB and thus the hydrophobic conformal coating could move through the openings to be received by the electrical component.

Hydrophobic Seal Around Electrical Connector 

Apple has come up with a method in creating a hydrophobic seal around an electrical connector on PCB which includes a way of configuring a silicone seal over the PCB in order to frame the electrical connector on the PCB so that the silicone seals shields a soldered part of the electrical connector. Besides this, the silicone seal also has an opening for the electrical connection placed inside.

As per the application it states that the layer could be in the thickness of one and ten microns, an advantage for small form factor portable devices with less internal space. It is yet unclear whether Apple would be employing a more aggressive moisture protection for future iDevices though as the company moves in the direction of wearable devices with the Apple Watch, users would be expecting some amount of waterproofing from the devices.

As CEO Tim has revealed recently that the Apple Watch has been designed with the least minimal level of splash resistance, it could be worn even at the time of taking a shower.

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