June 13, 2019
The patent, titled "Submersible Electronic Devices with Imaging Capabilities," discusses equipping a cell phone with an image sensor that recognizes when the device is underwater. The camera’s sensors then gather information regarding image contrast, colour balance, ambient light, depth and the distance of underwater objects and make necessary adjustments, all in an attempt to optimize underwater photography.
As reported by Digital Camera World, the iPhone Xs exhibited a number of camera improvements, including its bokeh effect, dedication to manual control and the highly sought after “portrait mode”, which put it among the likes of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and the Google Pixel 3. Additionally, as noted by TechRadar, the iPhone Xs was IP68 rated, a function that protected the device from dust and immersion in water up to a depth of two metres for 30 minutes, which is sufficient for brief underwater photo-ops.
While the fact that a patent filing by no means guarantees that the patent will be granted or that the technology will be included in the next version of the iPhone, speculation surrounding this waterproof function spiked in February when Max Weinbach, of XDA Developers, tweeted that the underwater technology was at the prototype stage.
Authors: Sarah Stothart and Sam Galway