A newly granted Apple patent (number 11,334,032) shows that future Apple Watches may sport a barometric vent and be waterproof (not just water resistant).
About the patent
In the patent filing, the tech giant notes that electronic devices use all manner of components to gather information about the surrounding environment, and to provide outputs to users of the devices. In some cases, the components require exposure to the surrounding environment in order to function effectively.
For example, a temperature sensor may need to be exposed to the surrounding environment in order to accurately detect an ambient air temperature, and a speaker may need to be exposed to the surrounding environment in order to be effectively heard by a user.
Electronic devices may also benefit from environmental sealing, such as waterproofing, to help prevent damage to sensitive electrical components and circuits. Sealing a device, however, may interfere with the operation of components that rely on exposure to the surrounding environment to function properly.
Apple’s idea is for an Apple Watch that is truly waterproof (thanks to an air-permeable waterproof membrane), yet still has a barometric vent for pressure sensing.
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “An electronic watch may include a housing at least partially defining an interior cavity divided into at least a first volume and a second volume, a pressure-sensing component positioned within the first volume, a speaker positioned within the first volume, a processor positioned within the second volume, a battery positioned within the second volume, and a barometric vent that allows air pressure equalization between the first volume and an external environment.”