Apple patent hints future iPhones could be waterproof

How tough is your iPhone?
How tough is your iPhone?

It's been long rumored the next-generation iPhone could be partially waterproof -- and a newly published Apple patent just added potential credibility to those claims.

The company was recently granted a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office that hints at its possible plans for waterproof or water-resistant gadgets. The patent highlights editing tools that could be used for underwater photography to ensure those scenes don't have "undesirable tints".

This means underwater pictures could stay vivid and maintain a blue water hue.

While many Apple patents reference concepts that don't ever see the light of day, this is its latest in a string that demonstrates it is keen to develop gadgets like iPhones that can be used underwater.

For example, Apple (AAPL) was approved for a patent earlier this year for "submersion detection circuitry" designed to help gadgets sense when they've been dipped into water or other liquids.

Meanwhile, in late 2015, Apple was awarded a patent for a "protective barrier" that covers ports to make the area water-resistant. There's also the patent published in March 2015 that highlights how Apple has considered special coatings and seals to shield "electronic components from moisture."

Simply put, there's a clear trend with all this paperwork.

iphone underwater patent
A new Apple patent focuses on "color balancing" for underwater photos, as seen in the above illustration.

Related: Stunning underwater Olympic shots now taken by robots

The tech giant is expected to announce the iPhone 7 in September. In addition to incorporating waterproof features, Apple's next-generation smartphone is rumored to ditch the headphone jack, a move that would make the phone less vulnerable to water damage.

Although the existing iPhone 6S isn't a waterproof device, CNNMoney previously dunked it in a vase of water for five minutes as a part of a test. Remarkably, the iPhone 6S continued to operate while submerged and functioned for about 10 minutes after it was removed.

Eventually, the screen went white, stopped working and shut off for good.

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It wouldn't come as a big surprise for Apple to add waterproof features to its next iPhone; after all, it's behind the curve on the trend.

Samsung has offered water-resistant products for years, and the new Samsung Galaxy Note 7 features a waterproof metal and glass body, and a waterproof stylus. The Note 7, just like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, is waterproof for about a half an hour in up to 5 feet of water.

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