Apple wants you to be able to carry on an iPhone conversation underwater and underground using peer-to-peer (P2) communication. The tech giant has applied for a patent (number 20220038190) for “underwater communication using electronic devices.”
About the patent
In the patent filing, Apple says that, in certain environments (e.g., underwater environments, underground environments, high-altitude environments, rural areas, and so forth) wireless electronic devices may not be able to connect to, for example, cellular networks and/or internet networks. This means that iPhones, as well as Apple Watches with cellular connectivity, may not be able to communicate in such environments.
What’s more, wireless signals used in such networks may be unsuitable for traveling through water over distances used in common dive conditions. Apple’s idea is to use P2P communication. You can read all about it here.
The patent filing also mentions a diver’s mask with P2P features. It’s unclear whether it would be a standalone device or work in tandem with an iPhone or Apple Watch. The latter seems more likely.
Summary of the patent filing
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent filing with the technical details: “Methods and devices may be used to perform underwater communication using one or more electronic devices. The one or more electronic devices include a first wireless transceiver configured to transmit first wireless signals through an air medium with the first wireless signals not being conducive for transmission through a water medium.
“The one or more electronic devices also include a second wireless transceiver configured to transmit second wireless signals through water. The electronic devices detect whether at least one electronic device has been submerged, and in response to submersion, transmits at least some communication types from the second wireless transceiver rather than the second wireless transceiver.”