Apple patents better water damage detection to fend off false warranty claims

Apple patents better water damage detection to fend off false warranty claims
Apple's way to detect water damage you've inflicted on the iPhone, hence deny warranty coverage, has been the indicator inside the headphone jack, which changes color once a close encounter with liquid has been carried out.

In very humid climates, however, these indicators in the audio jack are changing color at will, thus rendering it hard for owners to convince Apple's clerks they haven't accidentally dropped their iPhones in the toilet, but rather have had issues even without dunking them.

Now the engineers at Cupertino are looking at ways to improve the water damage indication process, by filing a patent for conductive soluble glue droplets set between two contacts, which get dissolved in liquid, thus changing the impedance, which can be detected and logged as error.

The process is apparently more fool-proof than the current audio jack indicator thingy, which not every customer service rep can reliably figure out by illuminating the insides of your jack, thus accepting false warranty claims and replacing the damaged device for free, eventually fleecing Apple of its hard-earned cash. 

There is no info about how many such claims have been made and granted, but apparently enough for Apple to decide it's time to do something about it. The handset maker has also been exploring technologies to completely waterproof its devices with technologies like the HzO nanocoating.

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12 Comments

1. android_hitman unregistered

apple is now trying to not offer warranty at all :) basically if your iphone brokes you have to buy another... .. good for you apple ..

2. paynekiller

Posts: 152; Member since: May 24, 2010

How about better water damage PROTECTION for these expensive devices rather than detection.

3. chack_fu

Posts: 46; Member since: Jan 19, 2009

Applecare+

4. cellgeek82

Posts: 518; Member since: Dec 20, 2009

How many people cringed at the photo above with the iPhone soaked in water? Not that I'm in love with Apple, but that it's expensive electronics.

8. LoneShaolin

Posts: 307; Member since: Jan 14, 2012

The way it's beading up looks funny. Like carnuba wax for a car does.

5. traciireese

Posts: 5; Member since: Feb 13, 2012

I agree i think it should have a way better water protection not just for apple phones but for all high end phones.

6. lonelyw

Posts: 17; Member since: Feb 20, 2012

I disagree with Apple's "hard-earned cash" in the article!!!!

7. dirtydirty00

Posts: 428; Member since: Jan 21, 2011

Now you have to watch the weather channel to check the humidity before leaving your house so your apple warranty doesn't get voided!

9. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

Call me crazy... but what is wrong with taking care of your device.... I mean you paid lots of money.. why not take care of it... if you are close to water... hold on to it.. if you cant... well get those cheapAndroid phones that carriers give away...

10. frydaexiii

Posts: 1476; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

Because no one spoils their phones on purpose, accidents happen, unfortunately, iPhones can't even handle accidental drops... And don't you think it's sad those "cheapAndroid phones that carriers give away" are more hardy than a iPhone which cost more than that and is supposedly better?

11. Forsaken77

Posts: 553; Member since: Jun 09, 2011

Those "cheap" Android phones that you get for free on-contract will still cost you $300-$400 to replace if you don't have insurance. So better protection on smartphones all around should be the focus. But who are we kidding? These greedy companies want you to break your phones and buy replacements for them. Oh... you have insurance? Sure we'll replace your 3 month old phone with a refurb pos and charge you $150 deductable. They're not loosing a dime.

12. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

1st of all we al drop out phones.. but in water.. you have no business having you 500.00+ phone near water when you know damm well is not water prooof... I have never drop a phone on water... I care for my expensive phone...

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