Apple, having made iPhones that can withstand inadvertent trips into puddles, sinks and toilets, is thinking about the next step: protecting Lightning connectors from water.
A patent application filed Thursday shows several ideas for sealing Lightning -- and apparently, USB-C connectors, too -- against the elements. "A liquid-tight seal is formed between the accessory and the electronic device," the application says, which makes for accessories "that are useful in moist, wet and/or dirty environments."
The ability to withstand hard treatment is important for phones -- especially when you consider that an iPhone X costs more than $1,000 and likely will remain in use for years. But as countless shattered screens and a thriving smartphone case market show, true ruggedness remains elusive.
Today's phones are better, though, and a connector that stands up to water and grit could help.
Apple's ideas include a tapered Lightning connector that stuffs into its port and a rubber gasket that squeezes tightly to seal a port when when a cable is inserted.
It isn't clear whether Apple ever plans to ditch its proprietary Lightning connector for the increasingly common USB-C ports sprouting on Android phones and Apple laptops. But USB-C fans can take heart that Apple has an idea for sealing that connector, too.
Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
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