Apple quietly published a patent for new waterproofing tech back in April this year, which now makes sense due to watchOS9’s advanced fitness metrics and multisport capabilities.
The patent, which we covered at the time it was published, showcases a ‘smart water detector’ which uses a thin membrane to detect if water has entered the device. This system would be more accurate than Apple’s current water resistance technology, allowing it to safely shut down or run water-ejection programs automatically.
Apple Watch Series 7 currently has a water resistance rating of 50 meters under ISO standard 22810:2010 (opens in new tab). In theory, the new water detection systems would allow Apple Watch users to plumb even further depths, or spend even more time in the water with increased security.
Based on what we saw in watchOS9, it sounds as though Apple’s making a move into the adventure watch space, taking on the likes of Casio G-Shock and Garmin. We’ve already written about Apple’s move into Garmin’s space with its running metrics.
However, we’re now seeing the bigger picture with this mostly-forgotten about patent and the watchOS9’s new multisport option for triathletes, which would allow you to seamlessly switch between swimming, cycling and running.
Apple is also implementing a SWOLF score for swimmers, which tracks a stroke count combined with the time, in seconds, it takes to swim one length of a standard pool.
It seems as though Apple has got water on the brain this go-round, and it could be gearing up for some real rugged adventures. Of course, the biggest barrier to this is that Apple Watches are stylish, expensive and significantly less durable than the rough-and-tumble Garmins and practically indestructible G-Shocks.
Wrapping itself in something suitably shock-absorbing with a military aesthetic would be a new direction for the Apple Watch 8. Apple is no stranger to releasing limited edition watches, such as the Nike colorways for the Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch 7.
A rugged Apple Watch with carbon fiber, rubber or stainless steel casing might be just the thing to continue the move in this new direction.