Apple watch

Apple Watch extreme sports model – waterproof patent

Bloomberg reported last year that Apple was considering a new market for its wearable, with an Apple Watch model for extreme sports under consideration. A new waterproofing patent application from Apple lends weight to this idea.

The technology described in the patent would allow the Apple Watch to go from the IPxx ratings used for everyday life to the much more rigorous ATM ratings used for water sports…


Bloomberg released a few reports last year, with the first in March outlining a robust pattern.

Apple plans to expand its line of Apple Watch models, with a new model that would focus on athletes and extreme climbers and hikers. As reported by BloombergThe case of this watch is said to feature a rugged design with shock resistance and a protective exterior, similar to a Casio G-Shock Watch.

The second focused on the expected improvements in design and technology for the Apple Watch Series 7, but also refers to a separate model expected this year.

The extreme sports model, described by some inside Apple as an ‘explorer’ or ‘adventure’ edition, was in development for release as early as this year, but is now more likely to launch in 2022 This new model would help Apple compete with robust offerings from players like Garmin Ltd. and Casio Computer Co.

It would make sense for an “adventure” model to offer sport-level waterproofing, and that’s what the patent application references published today.

Portable devices must withstand increasingly stringent reliability requirements such as exposure to dust, sand or other debris. 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 removal using an expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) membrane or mesh to provide environmental robustness is possible, but the membrane and/or mesh are prone to water entrapment […]

The present description relates generally to sensor technology, and more particularly, but not exclusively, to an autonomous water detector with an expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) membrane architecture.

What the patent describes is a more efficient way to detect water ingress and take action to protect the watch. Like Apple obviously suggests, this could potentially mean Apple is aiming for a sports-focused waterproofing scale measured in atmospheres, or ATMs.

While these ratings seem extreme even for sports use, the reality is that rapid movements (such as diving from a significant height) can result in high pressure ratings even in relatively shallow water.

  • 5 ATM: Diving in the pool
  • 10 ATM: Surfing, snorkeling, rafting and other surface activities
  • 20 ATM: Sporty scuba diving

We include our standard disclaimer, of course, that Apple patents far more stuff than it ever brings to market, but previous reports suggest this one might be more likely than most.

Photo: Gerald Schombs/Unsplash

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