How Apple Created the First Water-Resistant Phone

Welcome.

Initially, this text was conceived as a digression into history, but the same is happening in our time. To begin with, we will analyze the waterproofing of the iPhone 6s, and at the end we will discuss why there is no reverse charging in the eleventh series of iPhones, although it is there.

To date, no one is surprised by the presence of moisture protection in the flagship, someone even refuses to buy a certain model if this feature is absent. But it was not always so.

The first massive waterproof flagship can be considered the Samsung S5. This, by the way, was during the iPhone 5s back in 2014. For the sake of fairness, it should be noted that in the S6 the Samsung team cut this feature out, but returned it with great fanfare to the S7.

How Apple Created the First Water-Resistant Phone

Samsung proudly announces on its website that plugs are no longer needed to protect against water

Okay, I lied a little, the first were the guys from Sony with their Xperia line. But who will remember this now? And their moisture protection left much to be desired, especially after a couple of months of using the phone.

If you ask any mobile phone expert which phone was Apple’s first water-resistant phone, you will surely hear that it was the seventh iPhone. This is true, but I would say that almost all of the moisture protection chips were used in the 6S. Let’s figure it out.

How Apple Created the First Water-Resistant Phone

A screenshot from the Apple website, which once again proves to us that the iPhone 7 is the first waterproof among its brothers

Let’s start by approving with you a few basic positions and concepts. How can liquid leak into the phone? Or, correctly to say, through what? Naturally, any liquid flows through the holes. And they don’t have to be as big as a power or headphone jack. The gap between the button and the body is enough. And the biggest gap in an iPhone is where the display frame meets the aluminum case.

And then the Cupertinians decided to use the old studied method and installed sizing. This solved two problems – liquid penetration and display backlash in the case – and is still used in all new iPhones.

How Apple Created the First Water-Resistant Phone

This thin black strip protects all modern iPhones from leaks.

A waterproof membrane can be installed in speakers and microphones, this does not cause difficulties. Glue along the contour with the same protection as in the image above. But with buttons it is not so easy to get rid of. You can’t glue them, it’s still a movable structure. The solution to this problem has long existed – rubber seals. This is what Apple engineers took advantage of when developing the 6s. To their credit, they weren’t completely lazy at the time.

How Apple Created the First Water-Resistant Phone

The image shows the seals on the button outside the case and how the seal locks when the button is inserted

Please note that we are talking about the iPhone 6s, but no moisture protection is declared for it. There is a reason for this. A hole for removing the SIM tray. More precisely, how the mechanism is arranged in this hole. Let’s take a look at the images to make it clearer what we’re talking about.

How Apple Created the First Water-Resistant Phone

In the seventh iPhone, the principle of removing the tray has been changed. The SIM eject tool presses on a plastic pin, which pushes on the metal pin, which in turn pushes out the SIM tray. The tray itself is sealed with rubber. This ensures tightness

In iPhones under the “seven”, the principle of removing the tray is based on a swing mechanism. When you press on one side of the swing, the other side pushes the SIM card tray out. That is, the tool for ejecting the SIM card has direct access to the inside of the phone, which means a through hole ideal for liquid penetration. By the way, through this hole the liquid enters in the first place and fills the processor with the modem, which are located a little higher.

The 6s has two more holes – this is the headphone and charging jack. Moisture will not pass through the charging connector, it is sealed, and is surrounded by a rubber seal along the contour. Yes, and the headphone jack is quite isolated, but Apple did it easier and removed this jack in the “seven”.

Let’s summarize. iPhone 6s can hardly be called completely waterproof, but drowning it is not as easy as previous models. Almost all technologies for moisture protection have been tested on this model. Why they didn’t isolate the tray and thereby complete the development and implementation of the technology, I do not know. Perhaps they did not have time to launch the model in series, or maybe they wanted to test the main technological solutions and see the result so as not to get into a puddle.

I really want moisture protection to appear in most phones, this is a very important feature of a phone, in my opinion. What do you think? Did the leakage protection in your phone save you?

And a few words about the hidden feature of the iPhone 11 Pro

Closer to the release of the iPhone 11 Pro, rumors began to appear about reversible wireless charging in this device. Well-known insider Sonny Dixon tweeted about this. By the way, this is in our article on 10 hidden facts about the iPhone.

As a result, the reverse charging was turned off by software. No one has reliable information from the first mouth of the developers. We got full confirmation of guesses and rumors when the guys from ifixit.com got the iPhone 11 Pro. Before disassembling the device, X-rays of the device were taken, and interesting facts immediately emerged.

How Apple Created the First Water-Resistant Phone

Battery connections are marked with red circles

For the first time, the battery is connected with two loops, and not only to the motherboard, but also to an additional lower board of unknown purpose. For your reference, I note that there is no explanation for this. But there is one more peculiarity with the lower board. The wireless charging coil is connected to it. And what do we see? Bypassing the motherboard, the wireless charging coil connects to the battery through a new board with a bunch of microcircuits and microelements. Hmm, what is it for?

How Apple Created the First Water-Resistant Phone

New Mysterious Bottom Board at its Glory

By the way, the ifixit team is also sure that there is a reverse charging and everything described above is just for it. If there is little evidence for you, then there is another fact that speaks of reverse charging. Apple on the back cover. Yes, yes, it was in this line of iPhones that the logo was shifted down, exactly in the place where you need to put the charged device. This is the center of the wireless charging coil. A very elegant solution for marking a place, isn’t it?

Something about Apple is wrong with wireless charging technology at all. Firstly, they still can’t do fast wireless charging. A charging power of 5 watts can only suit those … I don’t know at all who can be satisfied with such a power. Probably the same people who were happy with the complete iPhone charger in recent years.

Second, Apple had to silently ditch the AirPower wireless charging station a year after the announcement. I don’t know the exact reasons, but the step is quite painful for the company. Everyone knows how Cupertinians do not like to admit their mistakes. And then the cancellation of the announced product. It’s a shame, but as it is.

And now they have not yet been able to bring reverse charging to new iPhones. New AirPods with wireless charging in a case were released, and they cannot be recharged from the phone. I think they intended to use this feature for marketing purposes. Look at Samsung’s ad – wherever reverse charging is mentioned, their Galaxy Buds are shown. It turns out a double advertisement. Yablokoy would not refuse this.

Eldar Ibragimov (eldar@ripart.ru)

Published – April 14, 2020

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