Will Apple make the iPhone 7 waterproof?

A recently filed patent by Apple suggests that the next iPhone may be waterproof.

The document describes how a hydrophobic coating could be applied to the device's circuit boards alongside a protective silicon barrier to protect any exposed components like headphone and charging ports.

Read more: How to watch the Apple Watch launch live on a Windows PC

Despite some other smartphone manufacturers offering waterproof handsets, Apple clearly feels that there is a gap in the market for its particular method of protection.

“People who rely on electronic devices tend to carry them along to locations in which the electronic devices can incur damage,” the patent explains. “One form of damage that can be detrimental to an electronic device is water damage. Many electronic devices are susceptible to water damage because they are not fully sealed and include various openings for charging, connecting peripherals, and inputting and outputting audio.”

It also adds that bulky cases are often unwanted and, in any case, do little to protect the device once water has entered the device itself. As a result, Apple’s hydrophobic coating would provide the necessary additional protection.

Sony is perhaps the most high-profile smartphone vendor offering waterproof devices, but Apple itself already has some experience in this field. The Apple Watch, which is due for release later this year, is described as water-resistant, although it may not fare well if completely submerged.

With some industry experts suggesting that the iPhone 7 will not be released until sometime in 2016, that would give Apple plenty of time in which to perfect and implement its waterproof technology.

Read more: Apple wants to track your iPhone even when it’s turned off

This is not the first time that Apple’s patent filings have made the news in recent weeks, as it was revealed that the company is working on technology to better track the user’s iPhone. The feature enables the smartphone to enter a sleep-like state that allows it to remain trackable and which is sure to have privacy advocates worried.