Patent granted to Apple for technology that makes it easier for iPhone users to type in the rain


The U.S. Invention and Trademark Office has just granted Apple a new patent entitled “Modifying functionality of an electronic device during a wetness exposure event,” which might make it simpler to operate an iPhone in the rain. That doesn’t mean it’s simple to use a wet phone display or to type with wet fingers, even if your phone is built to handle some moisture.

Even if it rains, the iPhone’s screen will adjust to the wetness. This includes when the phone is submerged in water. The technology stated in the patent will be able to identify and erase any false taps on the screen caused by the liquid. By making buttons larger and separating them from adjacent buttons, on-screen controls could be rearranged to increase the precision of pushing the correct button while the screen is wet.

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Additionally, the capacitive iPhone display would immediately switch to a pressure-sensitive screen similar to Apple’s now-defunct Force Touch and 3D Touch technologies. These finger presses must have more force than a dynamic threshold that changes depending on the sort of moisture event (light rain, heavy rain, for example) that is making the touch screen difficult to type on to avoid raindrops or liquid from triggering touch inputs.

One of the images in the patent papers depicts an iPhone camera app with options for “dry,” “wet,” and “underwater” modes. It is possible to alter the camera UI depending on the mode you are in. While some controls are replaced with extra-large buttons in underwater mode, others are deleted from the UI in wet mode. However, their limited capability makes them less convenient to use underwater.

For the sake of the phone’s water-resistant capabilities, the phone’s display will indicate how deep it is currently submerged. Because of the increased size and new locations of camera UI buttons, Apple must exercise caution to avoid confusing customers with the new features of their cameras.

Apple receives so many patents in a year, but not all of them result in new technology that is immediately applied. If Apple decides to implement this patent, it isn’t obvious how soon afterward.

Also read: Analysts dismissed reports that Apple’s iPhone 14 orders were down 10%


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