The quirky waterproof Liquipel sealant that makes smartphones able to withstand a swim in a fish tank seems like a far-fetched rumored feature for the iPhone 5. But a new rumor report suggests that it is indeed coming to both the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S III. Do I need to start taking this story more seriously?
In spite of the fact that I have regarded the Liquipel waterproofing demonstration of the iPhone to be little more than a gimmicky feature and publicity stunt, I’ve been chronicling the somewhat zany notion that waterproofing will show up on the iPhone 5 here on the blog, just to make sure I’ve covered my butt in case it turns out to be one of the most exciting, new iPhone features in 2012. (Boy, I hope not. Otherwise, we’re in for a big disappointment.) Don’t get me wrong: I love the idea of giving Guppy the goldfish a bit of FaceTime with his long-lost cousins down the local pet store, but the whole idea of a waterproof iPhone just doesn’t wash for me. Yeah, I get it: the internal components are covered in a waterproof sealant, so that even after your iPhone has been flushed down the toilet and poo water has infiltrated its chassis, you’ll still be able to play Angry Birds and hear the sloshy sound of trapped water inside.
For as much as I struggle with taking this story serious, it actually has legs! A new article today from Today’s iPhone apparently has a deep source who confirms that both the new iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S III will ship with Liquipel. Qualifying its story by reminding us all that this is merely a rumor (isn’t that all we talk about in the iPhone 5 community, anyway?), they go on to explain: “The source is well-placed in one of the UK’s top independent phone retailers. He states that both the next iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S III will have Liquipel treatment. The Liquipel coating covers both inside and outside the phones to make it water repellent, making them less susceptible to liquid/moisture damage.”
You’ll recall in my “Waterproof iPhone 5 Wackiness” article from last month that I question the pressing need for a waterproof iPhone 5, and also Apple’s real desire to give its users an iPhone that would survive a water drop. It is hard for me to imagine Tim Cook up on stage at the WWDC, dropping the iPhone 5 into a tank of water, and then picking it up and using it, especially since that trick has already been played out by HzO, the company that created Liquipel. It would seem like a risky move for Apple to encourage iPhone users to put their new waterproof iPhone 5 to the test — which a sizable portion of them would be tempted to do.
When you consider the risk/reward of making an iPhone that claims to be waterproof, it still doesn’t seem to me to be worth the risk for Apple, who can sell a lot of iPhones without making it waterproof.
By Michael Nace