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Apple could water-proof future devices with HzO technology

post #1 of 81
Thread Starter 
HzO, the maker of a "WaterBlock" technology shown off at last week's Consumer Electronics Show, has said it is in talks with Apple about using its material in future devices, including the iPhone.

HzO was promoting its nano-scale film barrier at CES last week, pitching it as a potential solution to waterproof expensive electronic equipment. One of their demonstrations included submerging an iPhone into water, and having it remain in proper working order.

HzO's technology is similar to the nano-coating process demonstrated at CES by P2i, branded "Aridion" and profiled yesterday. A video demonstration of Aridion-treated paper also appeared in this week's Weekend Tech Review. The technology is already in use by Motorola on both its Droid RAZR smartphone and XYBOARD tablet.

While speaking to attendees at the show, officials with HzO said that Apple is among the companies that have shown interest in the water repelling technology, according to Pocket-lint. Company officials said Apple was interested in making a future iPhone waterproof, potentially with a sixth-generation model expected to be released later this year.

"We expect HzO to be in next season's phones," the company reportedly said.

In addition to Apple, its rival Samsung is also said to have shown interest in HzO's technology. The company said it showed a Samsung executive a waterproofed Galaxy S smartphone, and that company officials were "really excited" by what they saw.

HzO's WaterBlock technology protects the insides of devices on a molecular scale. It has been used in demonstrations to protect a number of Apple products, including the iPhone 4S, iPads and iPods, after the material has been applied to the devices in a vacuum deposition process.



The company says that WaterBlock is a non-toxic, organic material that is safe for people to use. It also doesn't change the aesthetics of a device or add any weight.

The technology is intended for "accidental encounters" with moisture, meaning use in deep waters or being submerged for an extended period of time is not recommended. However, HzO coated devices have reportedly been immersed in water for "many continuous hours," and they continue to work fine.

"The technology is designed to protect against failure due to jumping in a pool and forgetting your phone was in your pocket, or dropping your iPod in the sink while doing dishes, or getting caught in a torrid rain storm and getting soaked, or leaving your smartphone in your pants when they go through the wash," the company said.
post #2 of 81
"The company says that WaterBlock is a non-toxic, organic material ..."

"It also doesn't change the aesthetics of a device or add any weight."


HzO, defying the laws of physics since 2012.
post #3 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

HzO, the maker of a "WaterBlock" technology ...

I always think it's funny when an American company uses the "z" in a product name and it's clear that they intend it to be pronounced "ZEE" not realising that the majority of the world actually pronounces this letter as "ZED" making the proposed product name totally silly to say. It's like a classic American blind spot.

Edit: even more hilarious that they chose an announcer with an English accent to say "zee."
post #4 of 81
It's about time someone made a waterproof phone. Waterproof watches have been around for ages. All it takes is a little rubber gasket.
post #5 of 81
I'm really thinking the iPhone 5 (aka iPhone 4G) is going to be a show stopper. It was the last thing Jobs worked on before he died. I'm thinking an oval capacitive touch home screen button. With simplistic gestures: swipe to go back, forward, double tap (not push) to zoom.

This will allow users to keep their thumb over the home button more often. Over the screen less often and probably allow for the justification of a larger screen, as more action will be on the home button and not on the screen.

Thoughts?
post #6 of 81
This is one of those things that needs to be tested well for a company with as much mindshare as Apple and their iDevices. They say it's organic and non-toxic. Great! But organic compounds can still be dangerous even if they aren't poisonous. Have they tested it for carcinogens? Imagine what would happen to Apple's stock if one day Hz0 was linked to cancer and they were selling hundreds of millions of devices a year with it. It's like with the signal attenuation of the iPhone 4 or the CarrierIQ issue. The first one they had to do a press release to control the silly media frenzy it caused and the second they had a very small association with no evidence of keylogging that was the root of the issue with CarrierIQ from a particular carrier and handset vendor.


Quote:
Originally Posted by eulerphi View Post

"The company says that WaterBlock is a non-toxic, organic material ..."

"It also doesn't change the aesthetics of a device or add any weight."


HzO, defying the laws of physics since 2012.

They don't mean it that way. The weight gain is so minute that you are unlikely to have have instrument that could measure it and it's impossible to personally notice.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

I always think it's funny when an American company uses the "z" in a product name and it's clear that they intend it to be pronounced "ZEE" not realising that the majority of the world actually pronounces this letter as "ZED" making the proposed product name totally silly to say. It's like a classic American blind spot.

Edit: even more hilarious that they chose an announcer with an English accent to say "zee."

Does most of the world say zed? The British certainly do but most English speakers in the world I know are heavily influenced by American culture. Anecdotally, overall I've noticed American spelling and pronunciation of English words in other countries more than I have the British spelling and pronunciations.

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post #7 of 81
There is no quicker way to kill a deal that is in discussion, than to desperately leak it to the press. So assume that this WON'T happen.
post #8 of 81
I think it has more credibility because the lady in the video has a cool English accent. Very well played.
post #9 of 81
Here is a similar technology with actual video demonstration of its application.
http://www.youtube.com/embed/uSHLqowYqjU
post #10 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Does most of the world say zed? The British certainly do but most English speakers in the world I know are heavily influenced by American culture. Anecdotally, overall I've noticed American spelling and pronunciation of English words in other countries more than I have the British spelling and pronunciations.

I don't know about elsewhere, but around here (Canada, near Toronto) it's zed. I was reading it as H-zed-Oh.
post #11 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

...torrid rain storm....

... but not frigid, or temperate, rain storms? Torrential, perhaps?
post #12 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atashi View Post

I don't know about elsewhere, but around here (Canada, near Toronto) it's zed. I was reading it as H-zed-Oh.

Here (In Saskatchewan) Its zed - I'm sure its that way in all of Canada. Can't speak for Australlia/New Zealand but I would assume it is zed there too?

While American culture might have influenced us in certain respects, orthographically it has a laregly marginal impact (although we tolerate american spellings in some cases - but we teach British English in schools)

I.e. we say/write colour, sleigh, burnt etc.

edit: I suppose for some words like Aluminum we tend to use the American - I'm sure there are literary papers delving deep into this phenomenon. Also, apparently we have 1 000 000 American immigrants living here now?
post #13 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by HyteProsector View Post

I'm really thinking the iPhone 5 (aka iPhone 4G) is going to be a show stopper. It was the last thing Jobs worked on before he died. I'm thinking an oval capacitive touch home screen button. With simplistic gestures: swipe to go back, forward, double tap (not push) to zoom.

This will allow users to keep their thumb over the home button more often. Over the screen less often and probably allow for the justification of a larger screen, as more action will be on the home button and not on the screen.

Thoughts?


I'm all for more gestures- even on a phone. Ever since iOS 5 got added to the iPad, I don't use the home button ever. And I would prefer it if I could swipe left and right to go forward and back in Safari like I can do with my Magic Mouse. But I don't see the need for the home screen button to be the gesture input device, when the screen seems much more fun and intuitive (not to mentions bigger and gives you more options). Incorporating the home button as touch sensitive would open more doors though.

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post #14 of 81
Apple should just stretch a condom over the iPhone and tie a knot in the end. Jonathan Ive would have to approve the ascetics of course.
post #15 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atashi View Post

I don't know about elsewhere, but around here (Canada, near Toronto) it's zed. I was reading it as H-zed-Oh.

Canada, UK, Australia and India I have heard Zed and many other British pronunciations. But I've also heard and seen a lot of American English spelling and pronunciations in Canada.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #16 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

I always think it's funny when an American company uses the "z" in a product name and it's clear that they intend it to be pronounced "ZEE" not realising that the majority of the world actually pronounces this letter as "ZED" making the proposed product name totally silly to say. It's like a classic American blind spot.

Edit: even more hilarious that they chose an announcer with an English accent to say "zee."

Zee or zed - what's the difference, that's only in English speaking areas anyway. Clearly they wanted it to look like H2O, but any pronunciation seems a bit goofy as a product name no matter what language or dialect.
post #17 of 81
I've found Gorilla Glass near useless so why not fix something more important first?
post #18 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

I always think it's funny when an American company uses the "z" in a product name and it's clear that they intend it to be pronounced "ZEE" not realising that the majority of the world actually pronounces this letter as "ZED" making the proposed product name totally silly to say. It's like a classic American blind spot.

Edit: even more hilarious that they chose an announcer with an English accent to say "zee."

Well, it's a Utah company, so not the same as an "American" company. Might have been questioned in California or New York. I'd say the same if it was a Texas company, not to pick on Utah.
post #19 of 81
It strikes me as a bad idea to say you're in discussions with Apple. I call BS, because Apple generally doesn't seem to want its suppliers talking about deals, even prospective deals.
post #20 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

It strikes me as a bad idea to say you're in discussions with Apple. I call BS, because Apple generally doesn't seem to want its suppliers talking about deals, even prospective deals.

There were plenty of Apple staff at CES that I'm sure they had "discussions" with.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #21 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by tk2x View Post

There is no quicker way to kill a deal that is in discussion, than to desperately leak it to the press. So assume that this WON'T happen.

Bingo. But they get noticed just for saying they're in talks with Apple. Everyone filtering for press releases that mention Apple sees it.
post #22 of 81
Maybe Apple should just buy the Company and Patents then Apply would be the only company with waterproof phones/tablets..

Let's see Samsung copy that...
post #23 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

This is one of those things that needs to be tested well for a company with as much mindshare as Apple and their iDevices. They say it's organic and non-toxic. Great! But organic compounds can still be dangerous even if they aren't poisonous. Have they tested it for carcinogens? Imagine what would happen to Apple's stock if one day Hz0 was linked to cancer and they were selling hundreds of millions of devices a year with it.

The mention of "organic" seems to be provoking more concerns than perhaps it should. We are surrounded by natural and man-made organic compounds already. Most plastics and common waterproof coatings fall into this category.

Additionally, to be hazardous to health they have to be ingested or absorbed, which requires a mechanism of exposure. This looks like a molecular coating applied to the internal components. It has to have a negligible vapor pressure or it would disappear quickly, and the user is not going to be touching it, so likely not hazardous even if the chemical itself is unsuitable for human consumption.

More interesting, IMO, is that presumably it has to be a dielectric material with a substantial breakdown threshold to prevent internal shorting (since it is such a thin layer), and that also means there cannot be any simple electrical contact points (such as contact battery terminals) in the device.
post #24 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

There were plenty of Apple staff at CES that I'm sure they had "discussions" with.

Yes, but the legitimate ones generally don't talk the event of being in talks with Apple, with the press or general public.
post #25 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

It strikes me as a bad idea to say you're in discussions with Apple. I call BS, because Apple generally doesn't seem to want its suppliers talking about deals, even prospective deals.

Absolutely. One of the things Apple is very secretive of are the companies they talk to. They won't even acknowledge that, say, Corning's Gorilla Glass is on the iPhone, or that Microsoft and Amazon supply technology used in iCloud (as is the rumor). Apple is notorious about not co-branding their stuff. No "intel inside" stickers.

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post #26 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

The mention of "organic" seems to be provoking more concerns than perhaps it should. We are surrounded by natural and man-made organic compounds already. Most plastics and common waterproof coatings fall into this category.

Additionally, to be hazardous to health they have to be ingested or absorbed, which requires a mechanism of exposure. This looks like a molecular coating applied to the internal components. It has to have a negligible vapor pressure or it would disappear quickly, and the user is not going to be touching it, so likely not hazardous even if the chemical itself is unsuitable for human consumption.

More interesting, IMO, is that presumably it has to be a dielectric material with a substantial breakdown threshold to prevent internal shorting (since it is such a thin layer), and that also means there cannot be any simple electrical contact points (such as contact battery terminals) in the device.

Here's an example of why such things need to be vetted.

"In 1999, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began an investigation into the class of chemicals used in Scotchgard, after receiving information on the global distribution and toxicity of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). the "key ingredient" of Scotchgard. The compound perfluorooctanesulfonamide (PFOSA), a PFOS precursor, was an ingredient and also has been described as the "key ingredient" of Scotchgard. Under USEPA pressure, in May 2000 3M announced the phaseout of the production of PFOA, PFOS, and PFOS-related products.

3M reformulated Scotchgard and since June 2003 has replaced PFOS with perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS). PFBS has a much shorter half-life in people than PFOS (a little over one month vs. 5.4 years). In May 2009 PFOS was determined to be a persistent organic pollutant (POP) by the Stockholm Convention."

That isn't to say that HzO hasn't done everything possible to make sure their tech isn't in any way harmful to people as they continuously use their fingers to press and drag repeatedly across their iDevices, or create any environmentally unfriendly results at the factories.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #27 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by tk2x View Post

There is no quicker way to kill a deal that is in discussion, than to desperately leak it to the press. So assume that this WON'T happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

It strikes me as a bad idea to say you're in discussions with Apple. I call BS, because Apple generally doesn't seem to want its suppliers talking about deals, even prospective deals.

Well maybe they're negotiating with Samsung so they leaked this rumor about Apple because Samsung wouldn't buy it unless Apple did it first.
post #28 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

It strikes me as a bad idea to say you're in discussions with Apple. I call BS, because Apple generally doesn't seem to want its suppliers talking about deals, even prospective deals.

Ya, I always thought that the first rule of being in talks with apple was the same as the first rule of fight club. maybe that means apple isn't very interested and they're trying to generate interest from other companies.
I love the idea.
post #29 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Here's an example of why such things need to be vetted.

"In 1999, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began an investigation into the class of chemicals used in Scotchgard, after receiving information on the global distribution and toxicity of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). the "key ingredient" of Scotchgard. The compound perfluorooctanesulfonamide (PFOSA), a PFOS precursor, was an ingredient and also has been described as the "key ingredient" of Scotchgard. Under USEPA pressure, in May 2000 3M announced the phaseout of the production of PFOA, PFOS, and PFOS-related products.

3M reformulated Scotchgard and since June 2003 has replaced PFOS with perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS). PFBS has a much shorter half-life in people than PFOS (a little over one month vs. 5.4 years). In May 2009 PFOS was determined to be a persistent organic pollutant (POP) by the Stockholm Convention."

That isn't to say that HzO hasn't done everything possible to make sure their tech isn't in any way harmful to people as they continuously use their fingers to press and drag repeatedly across their iDevices, or create any environmentally unfriendly results at the factories.

Fair point about the PFOS, and I wasn't trying to imply that all organics are safe, just that we encounter new ones all the time and don't typically question their safety like that. Or I don't, anyway.

It looks like you are thinking that the material would also be on the external surfaces of the device. Maybe I missed something, but I took from the article that it was an internal coating. I can't see why you would want it on the outside, which is glass and metal, or how it would survive if it were there.
post #30 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by kymcha View Post

Apple should just stretch a condom over the iPhone and tie a knot in the end. Jonathan Ive would have to approve the ascetics of course.

Did you mean to say "aesthetics"? Because something like an iPhone wouldn't really fit into the lifestyle of an "ascetic".
post #31 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

Fair point about the PFOS, and I wasn't trying to imply that all organics are safe, just that we encounter new ones all the time and don't typically question their safety like that. Or I don't, anyway.

My point was that the larger the mindshare you have the more you have to take extra precautions. I don't for a second think Apple is "green" because they care about the environment when there "greening" does nearly nothing in the grand scheme of things and they are still using plenty of things that do pollute the planet. I'm sure the lights they use in their stores aren't low-power florescence, because it would make the products look bad.

Quote:
It looks like you are thinking that the material would also be on the external surfaces of the device. Maybe I missed something, but I took from the article that it was an internal coating. I can't see why you would want it on the outside, which is glass and metal, or how it would survive if it were there.

An ionized gas plasma is pushed into a vacuum chamber that will coat any surface it comes in contact with, inside and out.

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post #32 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

My point was that the larger the mindshare you have the more you have to take extra precautions. I don't for a second think Apple is "green" because they care about the environment when there "greening" does nearly nothing in the grand scheme of things and they are still using plenty of things that do pollute the planet. I'm sure the lights they use in their stores aren't low-power florescence, because it would make the products look bad.

Agreed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

An ionized gas plasma is pushed into a vacuum chamber that will coat any surface it comes in contact with, inside and out.

But surely you wouldn't manufacture like that - coating the finished unit - would you? It would be really difficult to get the coating to the inside surfaces, which is where you need it. I would expect them to coat the internal components before assembly.
post #33 of 81
Enjoy your cancers.

Thats all I'm going to say.

Also, dont stand in front of laser printers' paper output slot.

You'll inhale something you dont want in your lungs.

I'm glad they've finally gotten rid of CRT monitors.

One less fumes you have to worry about.

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post #34 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

But surely you wouldn't manufacture like that - coating the finished unit - would you? It would be really difficult to get the coating to the inside surfaces, which is where you need it. I would expect them to coat the internal components before assembly.

I hadn't thought of that. I guess coating the logic boards and other internal components makes sense if it doesn't impede any performance or longevity of use. For instance, does this cause heat to build up or cause electrical signals to impede more readily? I'm assuming it's neither in my examples but bringing up some questions I might ask if this was being presented to me.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #35 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by ppartekim View Post

Maybe Apple should just buy the Company and Patents then Apply would be the only company with waterproof phones/tablets..

Let's see Samsung copy that...

Immature. You are.

There are other technology companies that have the same nanotech to water proof devices. Liquipel is one example.

"Oh snap" - You


Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Absolutely. One of the things Apple is very secretive of are the companies they talk to. They won't even acknowledge that, say, Corning's Gorilla Glass is on the iPhone, or that Microsoft and Amazon supply technology used in iCloud (as is the rumor). Apple is notorious about not co-branding their stuff. No "intel inside" stickers.

Apple doesnt have Corning's Gorilla Glass on their devices. They have iShield.

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post #36 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I hadn't thought of that. I guess coating the logic boards and other internal components makes sense if it doesn't impede any performance or longevity of use. For instance, does this cause heat to build up or cause electrical signals to impede more readily? I'm assuming it's neither in my examples but bringing up some questions I might ask if this was being presented to me.

I think that is what the thinness of the coating buys you. Even though, as an organic compound, it is likely to have a relatively low thermal diffusivity, it's so thin it doesn't matter from a heat flow point of view. As a dielectric coating it shouldn't have any significant effect on the signal paths.
post #37 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

But surely you wouldn't manufacture like that - coating the finished unit - would you? It would be really difficult to get the coating to the inside surfaces, which is where you need it. I would expect them to coat the internal components before assembly.

Perhaps both before and after. I would imagine that soldering components to a circuit board would destroy the coating or even prevent / contaminate the solder joint. The most vulnerable part of the iPhone is shorting the battery. I think you have to dip the whole thing in a vat once all the electrical parts are assembled before you put it in the case. Then you probably need to do some other stuff after it is in the case.

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post #38 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Perhaps both before and after. I would imagine that soldering components to a circuit board would destroy the coating or even prevent / contaminate the solder joint. The most vulnerable part of the iPhone is shorting the battery. I think you have to dip the whole thing in a vat once all the electrical parts are assembled before you put it in the case. Then you probably need to do some other stuff after it is in the case.

Yes. Actually I didn't say what I meant very clearly - which was to coat the complete internal assembly, not the individual components, before putting the case on. I agree, as I mentioned earlier, that the battery looks like the biggest challenge as it would have to be soldered. But maybe it already is.
post #39 of 81
sounds like p2i's nanotech, which is motorola's splash guard, used on the razr and other devices...

http://www.p2i.com/tv/public/categor...dion/video/152

curiously, hzo's website lists the razr, and also the ipad, ipods, iphone4, etc. etc., to me that's clearly implying that its own special stuff is used on them...

http://hzo.me/oem/

...and yet it's only "in talks with Apple about using its material in future devices, including the iPhone."

there're three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and marketing
post #40 of 81
Recently my iPhone and I were caught in a torrential downpour soaking me to the core, and the iPhone was drenched. The phone was in a bag, but the bag got soaked through.

Naturally the water-damage repair was not covered by AppleCare. The Apple Genius confirmed that the iPhone has sensors that detect whether there has been water ingress - presumably so Apple knows whether to cover it with AppleCare, or whether to make us pay extra money.

I suggest to Apple that - rather than spending engineering effort to put water sensors to detect if we've got the phone wet (so they don't have to provide AppleCare - they should channel their engineering efforts to provide the iPhone with a degree of water resistance.

But purely looking at this from a money-hungry, greed viewpoint, it'd save Apple more money by just having water-sensors so they don't have to cover water damage repairs under AppleCare. Also, making it waterproof would loose Apple some revenue from forcing customers to buy replacement iPhones that they've gotten wet. So, given that Apple consistently takes the route that brings in more money, I'd say we're not going to see a waterproof/water resistant iPhone any time soon.

Since the technology exists to make iPhones waterproof or water resistant, I would not be surprised if there are such hawks in Apple's corporate tower that sit there and say - no, rather than making the iPhone waterproof, we'll instead include water sensors, so we can make more money.
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