How the Apple Watch Series 2's 'swim-proof' technology works

Posted:
in Apple Watch
At its press event on Wednesday, Apple made a big deal out of the Apple Watch Series 2 being "swim-proof" -- here's how the technology operates, and what its limitations are.




Apple has developed new seals and adhesives, which it says should keep water out of all but one of the potential entry points in the Watch's design. In fact the Series 2 is rated as waterproof to a depth of 50 meters, though Apple cautions that it shouldn't be used "scuba diving, waterskiing, or [in] other activities involving high-velocity water or submersion below shallow depth."

The one place where water can still enter is the speaker port, since in normal use it needs air to generate sound. To get around this Apple has re-engineered its technology, such that when a person ends a workout the speaker can vibrate to force out any trapped liquid.

#AppleWatch #series2 Swim sessions lock, blank screen. Dial Dig Crown & it wakes, blows out water from 🔊 with audio! pic.twitter.com/Fz6imNHwWn

-- Daniel Eran Dilger (@DanielEran)



In fact, this function is tied to the Workout app's two swimming modes -- "Pool Swim" and "Open Water Swim" -- which also lock and blank the screen. The speaker purge will happen automatically once users spin the crown to wake the Watch.

Shutting off the screen serves a few purposes. On a basic level it reduces the chances of any electrical faults, or any false inputs, since water plays havoc with touchscreen interfaces. It also saves battery life, since even if water didn't create touch problems, swimming doesn't lend itself to glancing at a smartwatch.

Preorders for the Series 2 start on Friday, in advance of the first shipments arriving on Sept. 16.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,506member
    *Sits impatiently, tapping credit card on desk*

    TurboPGTppartekimpscooter63stardustagwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 21
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,506member
    Can I buy it yet?
    TurboPGT
  • Reply 3 of 21
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,506member
    How 'bout now?
    TurboPGT
  • Reply 4 of 21
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,506member
    How 'bout now?
    TurboPGTpscooter63
  • Reply 5 of 21
    The speaker ejecting the water is really freakin cool.
    ppartekimpscooter63repressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 21
    Sort of curious if there's any word on salt water/ocean concerns.  Water proofed, yes, but would the salt corrode any of the internal parts, seals, or adhesives over time...faster than fresh water?
    cbpprepressthis
  • Reply 7 of 21
    "...swimming doesn't lend itself to glancing at a smartwatch."

    What? Of course it does. Without a clock there is no workout. Swimming is ALL ABOUT the clock, and a smart watch would be very useful in this capacity. There is a reason every swim team has a giant pace clock on the deck.
    repressthis
  • Reply 8 of 21
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,619member
    Jeff R said:
    "...swimming doesn't lend itself to glancing at a smartwatch."

    What? Of course it does. Without a clock there is no workout. Swimming is ALL ABOUT the clock, and a smart watch would be very useful in this capacity. There is a reason every swim team has a giant pace clock on the deck.
    Not everybody swims to beat the clock. For many, it's a workout. They count laps, not speed.
    proximityeffect
  • Reply 9 of 21
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,234member
    TurboPGT said:
    The speaker ejecting the water is really freakin cool.

    It sounds awesome....but I want to see it actually work. Huge kudos to Apple if this is working. I know they did tons of testing. These are the little things you just never see on a Samsung phone or something like that because it takes months of engineering to correctly implement. 
    edited September 2016 pscooter63lenawatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 21
    I wonder how salt water immersion works, as compared to fresh? Corrosion possibilities?

  • Reply 11 of 21
    So, you have to actively engage "swim" mode.. shouldn't this be a default setting to protect against unintended submersion (i.e. spills, splashes, rainstorms, etc..)?
    edited September 2016
  • Reply 12 of 21
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,506member
    vnv01 said:
    So, you have to actively engage "swim" mode.. shouldn't this be a default setting to protect against unintended submersion (i.e. spills, splashes, rainstorms, etc..)?
    Right, I think you've got the wrong end of the stick. 

    It is always waterproof. You don't have to press a button to make shields and covers magically slide into place. It is not the Batmobile. 
    wonkothesanefracwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 21
    All salt-water immersions will require a tap/fresh water immersion after to remove the salt. Salt actually dries up in the cavity and stops the speaker from working at all (or at a very low volume) - I've had this problem with the first generation of Apple Watch ("speaker broken" under warranty, and they finally gave those instructions for the last few months).
  • Reply 14 of 21
    Jeff R said:
    "...swimming doesn't lend itself to glancing at a smartwatch."

    Swimming is ALL ABOUT the clock, and a smart watch would be very useful in this capacity. There is a reason every swim team has a giant pace clock on the deck.
    Well, the clock on the deck is the only one that counts, so...
  • Reply 15 of 21
    Swim-prrof probably for people that stick their hand out of water. I can test that for Apple while snorkeling and taking shallow dives in Carribean see. Let's see how it stands up to very salty water and 5-10 feet depths. I know that sock Swiss Army takes at any time and as many times you want. After all they test seal with pressure check during service. So far I consider Apple watch as gizmo that perhaps one cay lay onto wet pavement (not drop) rather than stylish yet rugged watch for real situation use (no I do not consider city jogging real use - that is urban use).
  • Reply 16 of 21
    fracfrac Posts: 478member
    Swim-prrof probably for people that stick their hand out of water. I can test that for Apple while snorkeling and taking shallow dives in Carribean see. Let's see how it stands up to very salty water and 5-10 feet depths. I know that sock Swiss Army takes at any time and as many times you want. After all they test seal with pressure check during service. So far I consider Apple watch as gizmo that perhaps one cay lay onto wet pavement (not drop) rather than stylish yet rugged watch for real situation use (no I do not consider city jogging real use - that is urban use).
    What a bizarrely entertaining post. 
    realjustinlongloquitur
  • Reply 17 of 21
    Sort of curious if there's any word on salt water/ocean concerns.  Water proofed, yes, but would the salt corrode any of the internal parts, seals, or adhesives over time...faster than fresh water?
    I had no problems diving in salt water while spearfishing 2-3x a week with my original SS watch. I would just rinse it off as soon as possible with clean fresh water. 
  • Reply 18 of 21
    macxpress said:
    TurboPGT said:
    The speaker ejecting the water is really freakin cool.

    It sounds awesome....but I want to see it actually work. Huge kudos to Apple if this is working. I know they did tons of testing. These are the little things you just never see on a Samsung phone or something like that because it takes months of engineering to correctly implement. 
    It seems inspired by the anti-lens dust shaking motors that are found in high-end DSLRs.
  • Reply 19 of 21

    Sort of curious if there's any word on salt water/ocean concerns.  Water proofed, yes, but would the salt corrode any of the internal parts, seals, or adhesives over time...faster than fresh water?
    I had no problems diving in salt water while spearfishing 2-3x a week with my original SS watch. I would just rinse it off as soon as possible with clean fresh water. 
    Then gut it, season, fry it and serve with breadsticks.
    Rayz2016
  • Reply 20 of 21
    Rayz2016 said:
    vnv01 said:
    So, you have to actively engage "swim" mode.. shouldn't this be a default setting to protect against unintended submersion (i.e. spills, splashes, rainstorms, etc..)?
    Right, I think you've got the wrong end of the stick. 

    It is always waterproof. You don't have to press a button to make shields and covers magically slide into place. It is not the Batmobile. 
    HAHAHA comment of the day!

    I literally choke out my coffee and spill my iPad screen. I blame you for this hilarious comment, imagine the watch actually produce shield that cover the watch magically.
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