Apple’s forthcoming iPhone 11 could be able to detect where your fingers are touching the display even when it’s submerged in water, according to reports.
Every iPhone since the iPhone 7 has been billed as “water-resistant”, with an IP67 rating, meaning it can survive being dunked in up to 1 metre of water for up to 30 minutes.
The latest iPhone XS has an improved IP68 rating, meaning it can survive a dunk of up to 2 metres.
“So if you happen to be hanging by the pool, drop your phone in the water… don’t worry, dive down, grab it, rinse it, let it dry, you’ll be fine,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s marketing chief, at the company’s September event.
But while current iPhones can handle being submerged, they don’t actually work underwater – so you can’t tap and scroll in the pool, for example.
This is because water conducts electricity, so smartphones can’t tell the difference between the water touching the screen and the touch from your fingertips.
However, this could be about to change, as Apple is reportedly working on a new display technology that will be able to detect where your fingers are, even underwater.
The company filed a patent for the technology last year and, according to Max Weinbach , who works for app development platform XDA, it could be ready to roll out later this year.
“The next iPhones are probably going to have displays that work underwater,” he said in an update on Twitter. “They have a patent for it and are finally doing it.”
He added: “Got a source saying it’s in the prototype stage currently, and works for a few prototypes.”
It’s not yet clear how this would work, but would probably make use of Apple’s 3D Touch technology, which can detect pressure on the screen.
Apple is expected to release three iPhone models in 2019 – a 5.8-inch model, a 6.1-inch model and a whopping 6.5-inch model with a triple rear camera system.
All three models will come with a frosted glass casing option, and feature ultra-wide band connectivity for indoor positioning and navigation.
They will also have upgraded Face ID, larger batteries and “bilateral wireless charging”, meaning they could be used to charge other devices, according to reports.
The new devices are expected to be unveiled in September 2019, but whether they include fully waterproof touchscreens remains to be seen.