Bloomberg reported last year that Apple is looking for a new market for its wearables and is considering an extreme sports Apple Watch. A new waterproof patent application from Apple bolsters this idea.
The technology described in the patent will make it possible for the Apple Watch to evolve from an IPxx rating for everyday life to a more stringent ATM rating for water sports.
Also Read: Global Smartwatch Market Grew 24% Year Over Year
We knew that the Cupertino-based company is considering expanding its lineup of Apple Watch series with a new model focused on athletes, extreme climbers, and hikers. The source above said that the watch’s chassis will have a rugged design with impact resistance and a protective look similar to Casio G-Shock watches.
However, it will focus not only on design improvements but on technical enhancements as well. But likely, the latter will mainly touch the Apple Watch Series 7. So this year, we might see two Apple Watch models.
There is also a rumor that the new Apple Watch described as an “explorer” or “adventure” version is more likely to appear on the market in 2022. This new model will help Apple compete with rugged watches from manufacturers such as Garmin and Casio.
It would make sense for an “adventure” model to offer sport-grade water resistance, and here’s what the current published patent application cites.
The present description relates generally to sensor technology, and, more particularly, but not exclusively, to a stand-alone water detector with an expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) membrane architecture.
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Wearable devices are required to survive increasingly more stringent reliability requirements such as dust, sand, or other debris exposure. Gel-filled sensors have been used to survive these requirements but are vulnerable to pressure errors due to orientation sensitivity and capillary pressure errors due to water on the gel surface. Gel elimination by using an expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) membrane or mesh to provide environmental robustness is possible, but the membrane and/or mesh is prone to water occlusion.
What the patent describes is a more efficient way to detect water ingress and take steps to protect the smartwatch. This could simply mean that Apple is aiming to measure sports-focused water resistance in the atmosphere or ATM.
While these ratings may sound extreme even for sports use, the reality is that even in relatively shallow water, fast movements (such as diving from fairly high altitudes) can result in high voltage ratings.
5 ATM (50m water resistance): Pool diving
10 ATM (water-resistant to 100 meters): surfing, snorkeling, rafting, and other water activities
20 ATM (200m water resistance): Sport scuba diving