Waterproof iPhone 7 to feature Japan Display panels?

Japan Display Inc.

Over four years ago rumors of a waterproof iPhone 5 surfaced, but the development never came to fruition. To safely submerge an iPhone, there are waterproof cases on the market. Other solutions such as Liquipel promise to coat sensitive parts inside iOS devices, protecting them from water. Recent leaks (pun intended) are repeating history, with reports pointing towards a waterproof iPhone 7 in the works.

While the current iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models are not IP67 rated, many design changes have increased the practical water resistance of these models. A rubber gasket around the chassis seam, as well as sealed chip assemblies help to keep dust and water out. Apple has already utilized a system-in-package design for the water-resistant S1 processor found in the Apple Watch. Similar technology could be used to waterproof the upcoming A10 chip in the iPhone 7.

So where does Japan Display come into the picture? Besides the fact that Japan Display is already an Apple supplier, the company announced mass production of its new Pixel Eyes LCD modules. This is significant because among other improvements, second-generation Pixel Eyes modules are capable of operating with wet fingers.

Current iPhone displays are confused by wet fingers, due to the nature of capacitive touch screens. Japan Display could be the answer Apple is looking for to make a waterproof iPhone 7 functional when the screen is still wet. In addition, rumors have also surfaced of a $1.7 billion partnership between Apple and Japan Display, for a factory to mass produce iPhone displays this year.

In addition to waterproofing, the iPhone 7 is expected to abandon the 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of headphones that use a Lightning connector or Bluetooth. The next generation iPhone could also lose the camera bump thanks to a concave image sensor.