Apple’s Waterproof Secret

This is not a prank. I repeat, this is not a prank. Apple’s latest flagship smartphone truly is more resilient to water damage than its predecessors.

In a tear down of the new iPhone 6s, iFixit discovers that the smartphone is indeed waterproof. This has turned many heads and now you can see videos of people dunking the phone in water to prove it.

Apple achieved this feat quite ingeniously. Many smartphones maker would have made the casing waterproof and this method has proved difficult to attain because you have to leave open charging ports, speaker and headphone jack.

Flexing its thinking-out-of-the-box muscle as usual, Apple found a way around this. Instead of going the hassle of waterproofing the iPhone 6s case, Apple has fit in a new strip of gasket around the sides of the phone, a thin adhesive material.

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Even more genius, inside, you will see that Apple has coated the logic board with what appears to be a tiny silicone seal. It’s thin, spongy and almost like a wetsuit.

Now, this is genius because typically, when you get a phone wet, the real cause of death for you phone is the logic board shorting out and corroding over time. So when Apple covers every cable connector on the board with that silicone seal, instead of going the ‘conventional’ way, Apple is once again slapping its competitors in the face with an obvious and simpler but still brilliant alternative.

Just to clarify, the iPhone 6s is not completely water resistant so don’t go chucking your new iPhone into the tub. But it will be more likely to come out undamaged if you accidentally drop it in the toilet.

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As always, Apple has gone the extra mile; even the gasket is colour-coordinated to the display and the waterproofing did not change iPhone 6s aesthetic, performance or repairability in any significant way. Some major compromises has been made to achieve this.

The last part, repairability, is especially important because the other way of waterproofing a smartphone makes sure that it is difficult to take apart the smartphone without destroying the adhesive used to seal it.

With Apple’s new innovation, the tech company is basically investing in a long-term return for their iPhone Upgrade Plan, where you can pay a small monthly fee and get a new iPhone every year. This new functionality would mean Apple would more likely get the returned iPhones in better condition.

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Apple’s silence on this subject is very curious. One would expect it to market this very desirable feature to iPhone’s fans actively. But then again, other waterproof smartphones have not been that successful (Samsung has foregone the feature for the Galaxy S6, while Sony is seen to be backtracking on its claims).

Perhaps, this is just a smart move by the tech giant to avoid getting its phones dunked into water if it has “waterproof” labeled all over it. Besides, it is actually only nearly waterproof, albeit in a cleverer way that no one has ever thought of before.

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